VIDEO: Harris Leather and Silverworks family leads Yadkin Valley Chamber in branding lecture


By Beanie Taylor - [email protected]



Eddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday's Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Eddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday's Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Eddie Harris and Phil Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday's Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Phil Harris shows off the Harris brand's logo on the top of one of their saddles during Tuesday's Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday's Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Jeff Eidson said many years ago when he moved to Bermuda he was asked by someone who found out he was from Elkin if he knew the Harris family due to their connection with Harris Leather and Silverworks.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Dr. Bill Blackley and Vicki Clark visit during the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce members and area residents gather for the third Business Before Hours at The Elkin Center of Surry Community College Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Don Clark and Gambill Aldridge visit with one another at the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce's Business Before Hours Tuesday.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Members of the Harris family, from left, Ralph and Mabelene Harris, Mary Gwyn, Eddie Harris, Phil Harris, Stanton and Preston, and Phyllis Harris, are all involved in the Harris Leather and Silverworks brand, which was started in the Harris’s basement in 1968 and has grown into an internationally-known and desired brand.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Eddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday's Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Ralph and Mabelene Harris listen as the next generation, Eddie, Phil and Phyllis Harris, share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday's Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours. The company now includes third generation, Mary Gwyn, Stanton and Preston Harris.


Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

The Harris family of Harris Leather and Silverworks presented a short lecture on branding to an over-capacity crowd during the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business Before Hours Breakfast on Tuesday.

Several people stood in the hall listening, so as to not pass fire capacity limits in the meeting room, as Phil Harris introduced those assembled to the impact of the Harris brand. “Our brand is very iconic in our industry,” claimed Harris. “It wouldn’t be unusual to go to an airport and see someone wearing something with the Harris H on it. Our customers identify with it.”

The Harris H is two strips of carved leather connected by an engraved silver buckle with gold saddle. The simplicity of the brand is part of what has made it so popular, alleged Harris. “You don’t have to study it to know what it is,” however a design, “can be too simple or too involved.”

“You know you have a successful brand when the competition tries to copy it,” asserted Harris, who recommended making sure trademarks and logos are federally registered. “It’s not terribly expensive,” stated Harris. “It’s do-able, but you have to keep it up.”

A significant factor in the success of the Harris branding is the number of products sold with the signature H. Harris described a conversation with a customer who ordered boots and insisted that they have the logo on them. Part of marketing a brand, according to Harris, is “put it on everything.”

As head of apparel, his wife Phyllis agreed, “We put our brand on every article of clothing,” even adapting the logo color to the item.

The semi-truck used to transport goods to shows is also a part of the Harris branding plan. “We took a lesson from NASCAR,” stated Phil Harris, describing their mobile showroom as, “a rolling billboard. For the past 10 years it has been all over the country.”

Harris Leather and Silverworks began in 1968 with “Mabelene’s little side business” in the Mount Airy home of Ralph and Mabelene Harris. The success of her leatherwork grew with the family’s involvement with horses as Ralph began to work on tack, which son Phil later took over. Eventually brother Eddie began to specialize in silverworks extending the business further.

Although “we want to do as much as we can for the Elkin community … we stay very busy at what we do,” asserted Phil, “we keep a low profile,” so as to not have to tell neighbors they are unable to repair jacket zippers.

Many of those neighbors seemed to be present Tuesday morning. “I looked out over the sea of faces and I think I knew everybody here,” claimed Phyllis.

“Occasionally we do [talks] and it’s always a lot of fun,” stated Eddie Harris. “We do these whenever we are called upon to support the chamber and local businesses. Small business carries the load in the country. I encourage [everyone] to support the small businesses of this community.”

Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.

Eddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-1.jpgEddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Eddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-2.jpgEddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Eddie Harris and Phil Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-3.jpgEddie Harris and Phil Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Phil Harris shows off the Harris brand’s logo on the top of one of their saddles during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-4.jpgPhil Harris shows off the Harris brand’s logo on the top of one of their saddles during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-5.jpgPhil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Jeff Eidson said many years ago when he moved to Bermuda he was asked by someone who found out he was from Elkin if he knew the Harris family due to their connection with Harris Leather and Silverworks.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-6.jpgJeff Eidson said many years ago when he moved to Bermuda he was asked by someone who found out he was from Elkin if he knew the Harris family due to their connection with Harris Leather and Silverworks.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Dr. Bill Blackley and Vicki Clark visit during the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-7.jpgDr. Bill Blackley and Vicki Clark visit during the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours Tuesday.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-8.jpgWendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce members and area residents gather for the third Business Before Hours at The Elkin Center of Surry Community College Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-9.jpgYadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce members and area residents gather for the third Business Before Hours at The Elkin Center of Surry Community College Tuesday. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Don Clark and Gambill Aldridge visit with one another at the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business Before Hours Tuesday.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-10.jpgDon Clark and Gambill Aldridge visit with one another at the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business Before Hours Tuesday.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Members of the Harris family, from left, Ralph and Mabelene Harris, Mary Gwyn, Eddie Harris, Phil Harris, Stanton and Preston, and Phyllis Harris, are all involved in the Harris Leather and Silverworks brand, which was started in the Harris’s basement in 1968 and has grown into an internationally-known and desired brand.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-11.jpgMembers of the Harris family, from left, Ralph and Mabelene Harris, Mary Gwyn, Eddie Harris, Phil Harris, Stanton and Preston, and Phyllis Harris, are all involved in the Harris Leather and Silverworks brand, which was started in the Harris’s basement in 1968 and has grown into an internationally-known and desired brand. Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Eddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-12.jpgEddie Harris, Phil Harris and Phyllis Harris share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

Ralph and Mabelene Harris listen as the next generation, Eddie, Phil and Phyllis Harris, share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours. The company now includes third generation, Mary Gwyn, Stanton and Preston Harris.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/web1_harris-13.jpgRalph and Mabelene Harris listen as the next generation, Eddie, Phil and Phyllis Harris, share the story behind the Harris Leather and Silverworks branding during Tuesday’s Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours. The company now includes third generation, Mary Gwyn, Stanton and Preston Harris.Wendy Byerly Wood | The Tribune

By Beanie Taylor

[email protected]

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Beanie Taylor | The Tribune

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