Pandemic continues to take toll on Canadian County business

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El Reno resident Doug Dealy cuts leather to make boots. He and his wife Kim own Renboots. (Photo provided)

By Carol Mowdy Bond
Contributing Writer

Owners of Renboots and Kommando Kilts and Hide Junkie, El Reno residents Kim and Doug Dealy were doing well until COVID-19 hit.

Kim said, “When the pandemic hit, it was devastating. With COVID, our business is down over 90% now. Before COVID, we had around 15 employees. Now we’re down to seven full-time employees. We’re doing what we can to survive. We’re doing a lot of online sales.”
“We manufacture various leather items used for renaissance festival costumes, including the boots, and the sporrans which are the bags men wear in front of their kilts,” Kim said. “We normally do about 21 renaissance festivals annually. But they were all cancelled because of COVID.”

“With our kilt business, we make the utility style kilts,” said Kim. “And we import the tartan kilts from Scotland.”

The Dealys aren’t small potatoes. “We sell anything to accessorize a costume that’s made out of leather,” Kim said. “We’ve worked with television shows, operas, and many different Broadway productions such as ‘The Lion King.’ Our footwear products have gone as far away as Australia. Our footwear was in three seasons of the television show ‘Reign.’ And we’ve done costuming, footwear, and belts for Disney productions. We had a pair of boots on a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch.”

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The Dealys incorporated their business in 1999. They started working renaissance-style festivals in 2001, with their first experience at the Medieval Fair of Norman. In 2005, they established Kommando Kilts. Then In 2019, Kim began making ladies leather handbags.

“They’re more of a Western style handbag,” Kim said. “I put fringe on them.” And this month they displayed their items at the Iron Thistle Scottish Festival in Yukon on October 17 through18.

COVID hit them hard. “So, we started making face masks out of kilt fabric,” Kim said.

“COVID is why I started our business Hide Junkie, which is my leather bags. I started ramping up my ladies handbags, which I had started making last year, to keep some dollars flowing in now. We’re getting the handbags into retailers. I’m trying to keep my head above water. We’re doing all we can to stay in business.” They are exhibiting their wares at the Dallas Market the week of October 18.

The Dealys get their leather from all over the place, including South America, Tulsa, and California. Connect with Hide Junkie, Renboots, and Kommando Kilts on their three Facebook pages, or on the web at http://www.hidejunkie.com, http://www.renboots.com, and http://www.kommandokilts.com.