about us

The first dog we adopted was Ivan the Husky. He was seven years old and stubborn as a mule. I went to the local pet shop and bought him a collar. It wasn’t cheap, but the leather was. It didn’t last very long. We were lucky to get a year out of each collar we bought him. On his tenth birthday we went to the beach for a picnic with friends. He was tethered to the bench because, like most Huskies, his ears were painted on and he wasn’t inclined to do anything he was told. As the sun went down and we were packing up for the day Ivan spotted something in the bushes and bolted after it. When he reached the end of the line his collar snapped and off he went in search of his prey. Whatever it was he didn’t catch it, but it was then that I decided we needed better collars for him and our three rescue blockheads. For safety’s sake.
​I’ve always been crafty and enjoyed making things so off I went to weekend classes at our local tannery and learned how to work with leather. While I was making my first collar for Ivan I asked Dave to help me. He’s a highly skilled cabinetmaker by trade, so his attention to detail and patience put me to shame. I handed him the reins and stuck to the bit I was good at – sales, marketing, social media and customer service. Turning a hobby into a business is something I’ve been doing since I was a teenager selling necklaces and patchwork bags to classmates so it was a pretty natural progression for Ruthless Leather to open an online store.
We lost Ivan to acute pancreatitis when he was 11. The photo above is of Bruno, Chopper, Angel and Trixie – only Bruno is still with us. They all wore those collars they’re wearing every day until they passed, which in Chopper and Angel’s cases was ELEVEN YEARS! I can honestly say I never looked after their wares either, but don’t be like me. If I wasn’t such a sentimental hoarder I’d donate them to the rescue I volunteer for because they’re still in great condition.

In mid-2018 we closed the online store temporarily because Dave was overworked and needed a break. It might sound like a nice complaint, to have too many orders, but not when you’re just one person and outsourcing isn’t an option because no one else can do what you do, to the level that you do it. During his down time he still made some orders for friends and previous clients and found that leather-working is a lot more enjoyable when he’s not having to work late nights and every weekend.

In late 2020 I decided to learn how to weave paracord dog collars (and more) and, again, I’m turning my hobby into a business.

After Trixie passed we fostered and subsequently adopted another boofhead, whose name is Peanut Butter (Butters for short). Because he was still beefing out he never got his own bespoke leather collar – he’s been wearing Trixie’s hand me down – but here he is in a Pure Joy paracord collar that I made him, showing off one of his many party tricks.

Since 2009 Dave and I have built a brand that’s both respected and highly coveted. Some of the best dog trainers in the country exclusively recommend us to their clients and our customers are so loyal that many have gone on to buy several pieces – even though the first collar they bought is still in perfect nick! Since we now offer more than just leather we’ve rebranded. Ruffined Designs is not like other online stores though so please check out the how to order section before making your way into the shop. We look forward to welcoming you to the Ruffined Designs family, you’ll be in excellent company here!

x Ruth (+ Dave + Bruno + Butters)