Stephanie Boyles and Scott Schaefer first met during a corporate meeting on “New Technology Transforming Telecommunications” at the front end of the internet explosion. Before they knew it, they were married and off on high tech careers that would last for the next 25 years. What happened after that was totally unexpected…a plunge into the world of fashion.
Stephanie was and remains an avid equestrian. After leaving the corporate world in 2011, she created a mobile phone app that replaced a heavy several hundred-page riding instruction book with a smartphone. The next problem was how do you carry your smartphone in a safe, easily accessible, and fashionable way while on horseback?
She answered that question by innovating the age-old straight belt design with a custom belt loosely styled on the gun holsters of the old west...with a twist (or in this case, a curve!). Stephanie designed and then patented a double curved shaped custom belt that follows the natural contours of the human body. In addition to giving you a better fit and more comfortable feel, the unique design also eliminates that annoying “gapping” in the back you get with straight belts.
She showed the design to her husband, Scott Schaefer, and the two decided then and there to form a business to get her new custom belt design into the market. The first few weeks were spent forming the company, researching all things leather and leather manufacturing, and trying to determine who they might work with to produce their new creation. Most of a what they uncovered led them to Leon, Mexico, the self-proclaimed leather capital of the western hemisphere. In fact, some 90% of all finished leather goods in North America are produced in Leon and the surrounding area.
Fast forward 8 years and the company Stephanie and Scott founded, Embrazio LLC, now produces a dozen styles and many different colors of custom belts. They have expanded their line up to include leather bags, backpacks, wallets, and a diverse line of leather, metal, and pearl jewelry. Embrazio leather accessories are carried by over 200+ higher end boutiques primarily in the US and are sold online at www.embrazio.com. All of their items are handmade in very small factories just outside Leon while their design, warehousing, and shipping are in Boulder, Colorado.
While the company has greatly expanded its product offering, the custom belt curved design remains at the heart of Embrazio’s approach and it inspires the equal focus on both fashion and function in each new product created. When asked about their journey from high tech to fashion forward accessories innovation, Stephanie and Scott say the fundamental principles are really the same. “We listen, create, iterate, and improve just like in the software world only with fashion you get to see and feel the final product. There’s nothing more satisfying than meeting someone who wears an Embrazio accessory and finding out how much they love it!”