All Hensley’s Leather Works gear – from turnout suspenders to axe belts, radio holsters, and much more – is handmade in the USA by 26-year-old Alameda County Paramedic Raymond Hensley.
With nearly a decade of experience under his belt as an EMT and Paramedic, Raymond Hensley of Alameda County, CA, knows a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to First Responder gear. For the last year, Hensley has been quietly designing, manufacturing, and marketing his own line of custom, handmade leather gear to First Responders throughout Northern California. Now, Hensley’s Leather Works is available to first responders nationwide from www.hensleysleatherworks.com — a stunning step forward for a business that began almost by accident.
“I never planned on working as anything other than a First Responder, and that’s been true since my first day of EMT school,” said Hensley. “Things changed, though, in March 2016, after I made myself a leather strap and holster for the large department-issued radio that I was tired of lugging around all day. I learned craftsmanship from my father at an early age, but this was my first attempt at leatherwork. The radio holster quickly caught the eye of my colleagues, and I began making them, and other requested leather gear, for my entire department. It was only after word-of-mouth buzz created a regional demand for the gear that I realized a legitimate business opportunity had been presented to me.”
Hensley’s Leather Works’ lineup of handmade First Responder gear includes Axe Belts, Turnout Suspenders, Glove Straps, Helmet Chin Straps, Box Light Clips, and, of course, the original Radio Straps and Holsters. All gear is available in either black or burgundy leather using all-natural cowhide sourced from a tannery in Pennsylvania. Through the company’s website, all HLW gear can be custom-stitched and engraved with the responder’s name, department, house number, or any other symbol or emblem of desire. Hensley’s Leather Works gear is currently priced between $24.99 and $159.99, and is designed to last a lifetime.
“First Responders often encounter any number of dangerous, unpredictable variables when responding to an emergency – one of which, though, can never be the reliability of their equipment and gear. It’s an implicit trust in our gear that allows us to operate effectively, efficiently, and without doubt while on scene,” continued Hensley. “It’s for this reason that all HLW gear is designed and hand-crafted with the highest quality materials and an unwavering commitment to perfection. With each hand-made order, I remind myself and my team what’s at stake and the real world situations in which our gear will ultimately be used.”
And while Hensley is no longer employed full-time as an Alameda County paramedic, he continues to work one day a week to field test products, assess new product opportunities and remain connected with the First Responder community of which he’s been apart for nearly a decade.