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An Anniversary

Steampunk Victorian Leather Pen in wooden display box
Steampunk Victorian Leather Pen in wooden display box
Steampunk Victorian Leather Pen in wooden display box

May the Fourth 2021

I knew there was something familiar about today’s date. 

Other than my being a science fiction fan, May the fourth last year was significant because it was the day we announced that we could restart the supply of our non-essential goods to customers (see the Covid-19 info on the Belts site). 

So today marks a year since we began a new normal; one that has continued to evolve, and will continue to do so. We are still sanitising hands and surfaces, wearing face coverings and keeping our distance…

We are delighted to be able to welcome customers into our new-look shop, with the belt maker’s workbench right in the window, and a spacious shopping area inside. 

Those exciting plans I mentioned a year ago became a shop called ‘The Belt Makers and Friends‘ and inside you can now find a good range of gifts and accessories that compliment our belts, and that you might find around a person who belongs – for a part of their day at least – in an office, study or studio. Things like suitable leather bags and briefcases for the trip to work. Other items that brighten your day, such as a smart shirt and cufflinks to team up with a more casual trouser; comfy and bright, British made woollen socks; and leather pens that have been expertly hand crafted from our very own leather trimmings. 

The range is expanding all the time and ‘desk decor’ is an area we are aiming at for the near future. Where will we be this time next year? To quote Dave Lister, of the JMC mining ship, Red Dwarf: “It’s going to be fun finding out!”

Stay safe, people.


‘An Anniversary’ was written by Marie Buckfield

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The Belt Makers are appearing in John Lewis

The Belt Makers are belt making in John Lewis

The Belt Makers are appearing in John Lewis

At the end of August The Belt Makers will be making belts in the menswear department of Exeter’s John Lewis & Partners.

The Belt Makers are belt making in John Lewis
The Belt Makers will be making belts in John Lewis, Exeter

John Lewis & Partners, Exeter

John Lewis & Partners are keen to work together with other Exeter city businesses, both large and small alike. 

They share our philosophy that Exeter is for life, not just for holidays… and that it’s a great idea to pool resources and share ideas. By doing so, we can keep things fresh for all our customers all year round, and prove that Exeter is a fantastic place in which to find almost anything you could possibly need.

On Sunday 30th and Monday 31st August, Mark, Horace (the stitching pony) and I will be appearing in the menswear department of the John Lewis Exeter branch. 

You can watch us working on belts, live in store, and you will be able to reserve items. We will be on hand for discussions and Q&A throughout the two days.

Join us on August Bank Holiday weekend! 

Mark sewing a belt by hand (colour, 2020)
Mark sewing a belt by hand

Have a browse

Our incredible belts are now accompanied in store and online by a wide range of accessories that will suit the office, studio and working from home environment. 

The shop is open for business 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Saturday and of course the website is open 24 hours.

In store appointments are available for private browsing for just you and your household/bubble, please get in touch if you need this service by filling in the contact form, button below 👇

News to your inbox?

If you would like to be among the first to hear our news, direct to your inbox, you can sign up for our newsletter right here 👇

‘The Belt Makers are appearing in John Lewis’ was written by Marie Buckfield

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Thank you for a fantastic week!

Social distancing measures: sanitising station and floor flow markings

Thank you for a fantastic week!

Shop front with Open artwork by Gus
Shop front with Open artwork by Gus

Ushering in the New Era

We opened our shop to the general public for the first time in months, on Monday 15th June. We had spent weeks pouring over government guidance and WHO recommendations; glued ourselves to Downing Street Briefings and we’d read everything sent to us by email, from local BID, council and national bodies alike; filled in forms and hung up the appropriate posters.

I think we’ve got it about right, until the recommendations are changed again, but that will be for another day!

Social distancing measures: sanitising station and floor flow markings
Social distancing measures: sanitising station and floor flow markings

We have a barricade down the centre of the shop floor, creating a one-way system that is separated from the second side. We have bright yellow floor tape marking both the direction of flow and the 2 metre intervals right across the floor. There is a hand sanitising station on the door and we are encouraging the use of face coverings but it’s not compulsory at this stage. I expect it will be soon!

We have disinfectant sprays for the surfaces. We’re keeping the socks in their plastic packaging so they can be wiped if necessary, and any belts that are tried on are being labelled and placed in the back room until their 72 hour quarantine is up.

Payment roundel floor sticker
Payment roundel floor sticker

Everyone waited politely on the little roundel (that’s two metres away from the till) to pay by card so, all-in-all, I think any uncertainty we had over whether or not we were doing all the right things, or whether we had missed anything, was put at rest.

Shopping for fun? I think I remember…

I do think it will take a while for people to get the hang of shopping for pleasure again, but by Saturday we had new window artwork by one of our Saturday staff, Gus, and there was music playing from the bar doing takeaway service a few doors down from us; the good old Fore Street atmosphere was well and truly dusted off and back where it should be!

We have been beautifully looked after by both regular and new customers alike and it is so appreciated, thank you.

We are so pleased to be able to bring such a lovely range of products to the Fore Street marketplace and this has been made partly possible by having the new website up and running so smoothly, so quickly. I need to give a massive shout out to Aaron from Takeoff Development for all his help and advice; if you need a website get straight on to him!

Do it your way

Remember, there are so many ways to shop with us. You can browse the website before popping in to the shop and you can try on a tester belt for size before you buy. You can order online for delivery, or for contactless collection: just let us know when’s best for you.

You can also book a private appointment for you and your household or social bubble. Pick your preferred contact option to book, or use your favourite social media and find us via #TBMandFriends.

Thank you for supporting our independent family business… see you soon!