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About Us

At Thomas Bates, we’re passionate about the handmade leather goods we’re known for. We care about quality, and that commitment shows in every stitch of our American-made bags, belts, and accessories. From our Haverhill, MA factory located in a historic former tannery, we combine classic design with artisanal crafting in order to offer our customers the heirloom quality and superior durability they’ve come to expect. Thomas Bates products are built to last; designed with attention to detail and features that add style to a life well-lived. We believe in family, adventure, and enjoying life to the fullest. That’s why all our products are made with love, right here in the U.S.A.

2014 marked our 25th year as an independent, family-owned accessories manufacturer. We are proud to introduce you to our new website, where we hope you will find everything you are looking for in the way of belts and accessories.The Thomas Bates brand is devoted to people who are passionate about the outdoors. Our unique blend of patterned fabrics and leathers, custom colors and designs, and our willingness to try new ideas and manufacturing processes stand alone in the world of fashion accessories.Thomas Bates has always reflected a vision of the outdoors. From mountains to rivers, to lakes and the desert, we have patterns and product styles that reflect what can be seen and used in the outdoors. Our customers are individuals and groups who want to express themselves in accessories products that reflect an outdoor spirit. Our founder is a real person, Thomas Phelps Bates. Thomas grew up devoting himself to enjoying the outdoors. He is an accomplished sailor, skier, backpacker and tennis player. He has traveled on multiple extended camping trips around the USA. From these trips and adventures he grew to love the peace and reflection that comes from spending time with nature. Our brands are an effort to help show his love for the outdoors.


In 1989, Thomas launched an accessories company in the 200 year old family barn in East Haddam, Connecticut. We focused on becoming a leader in innovative material use for belt designs. Most of our products were leather belts made in the USA and Argentina sold to wholesale and retail fashion brands. In 1995, we first showcased the Thomas Bates brand at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Reno, Nevada. Our line incorporated materials used in the outdoor industry such as nylon webbing, climbing cord and marine yacht rope to create unique belt styles.

2000 was a banner year for Thomas Bates. We developed a process for digital dye transfer on narrow fabrics and named this ‘first-of-its-kind’ process Visiontree®. We submitted a process patent application which received final approval in 2006. This process enables us to offer over 400 stock patterns on a wide variety of products, from belts and pet products to tote bag and sandal straps. Taking all our stock products and applying 400+ Visiontree® patterns, we believe we offer more patterned accessories products than any other manufacturer in the world. Visiontree® also affords the ability to offer our products with custom logos at a very low minimum and reasonable cost. Please click here for more information on making custom graphics on any of our fabric products.

The second milestone for us in the year 2000 was the purchase of a 39 year old leather goods factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Prior to that time, we had moved to the local industrial park and initiated limited manufacturing in the USA. In 2003, we consolidated our Connecticut factory to the Massachusetts location which is located in a 120 year old former tannery. Our Thomas Bates customer service office is located in Greenland, New Hampshire. We currently manufacture and distribute the majority of our products at our Massachusetts location, while working closely with our partner factories in China, India and Indonesia.

At Thomas Bates, our focus now and into the future is maintaining the highest quality standards and continuing to innovate. From developing new methods and materials for Visiontree® products, creating new buckles and metal hardware, to expanding our ability to work with genuine leathers, including the hand-dying and machine–tooling of environmentally conscious vegetable tanned leathers, we will continue to lead our industry in product innovation.


As a global citizen, we believe it is important to remember to walk softly and keep our environment clean by cleaning up after ourselves and those who have gone before us.

As a corporate citizen, we believe it is important to support the non-profit organizations doing important work in their communities. It is by building each other up that we are strengthened.

Here is a partial list of the organizations we have supported in the past year:

Reel Recovery – Men’s fly fishing retreats for cancer patients offered throughout the US:

Sail Maine – Youth and adult sailing programs in Portland, Maine:

Robie Pierce Regatta – America’s largest one-design sailing event for sailors with disabilities held in Larchmont, NY:

Pease Greeters – Active military hospitality for layover flights at Pease Tradeport, Portsmouth, NH:

We consider all requests for support. Typically, we chose worthy recipients within the markets we serve, i.e., fishing, boating, outdoor, military, Scouts, etc.

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