In the Beginning

If you can take a few minutes to read the story of DayMakers beginning, you will understand that providing excellent and personal service with a good listener's attention to detail really is the bedrock of my company culture. It isn't just a slogan to "make your day".


DayMakers roots go back to 1979. The economy had been tough for a long time and I was jobless. Making things out of leather presented itself as an opportunity. I made a $300.00 down payment on a $1,200.00 sewing machine and was trusted to pay the rest in three monthly payments. I looked at the sewing machine and had a sense I would always have work. 

I started making drawstring pouches out of leather remnants. Along the way my sister-in-law's grandmother commissioned a handbag. It was the first handbag I ever made. Luckily I was able to retrieve it more than 20 years later (See photo). I grew up in the midst of eight sisters (and a brother thank God). Making useful durable bags came naturally.
Within two years I was admitted to exhibit at the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show with leather pouches, belts, and shoulder bags. I called my business Santa Barbara Leather Works
. At the Art Show I displayed products made during the week. I also brought leather, thread, zippers, tools, a cutting table and a foot-treadle sewing machine and made special orders "while you wait". A couple times I even fixed a tourist’s shoulder bag that had just broken. I got to experience their immense satisfaction at such an outcome. It fed the soul of what became DayMakers.

That I grew up in the midst of eight sisters was integral to my ability to listen. (What else is a brother to do?) Listening is essential to my never-ending development as a designer. At the Art Show I listened a lot and took on any task that could be made of soft leather. Need a zipper case for your flute? No problem. A bag with 14 pockets precisely where you want them? No problem.

While my beginning was drawstring pouches, over the years my skills and aptitude developed to a pinnacle (one of many to come) when I made a custom diaper bag for a doctor to give to his nurse. It was according to his detailed blueprint. It needed to be leather and lightweight. When he and his wife came to see it they were thrilled. We had estimated it would be $700- $800. While they were going over it I tallied my time and materials. When I found out it came to $1,000 I told him I could do sliding scale and told him the cost. He was slightly taken back and then said, it is beautiful and $1,000 is fine. I told him that will be $1,067.50. He said what? I said sales tax, the $1,000 is for the bag. He wrote the check with gratitude and I am sure someone is using that bag to this day.

I became proficient at understanding and designing the bag each customer wanted, even better than they had wished for. In recognition of this advance I changed my business name to "William Norris Designs".


One day I received a phone call from a federal Fish and Game agent who worked undercover in the Florida Keys. His mother lived in Santa Barbara and was one of my shoulder bag customers. She referred him to me to see if I could make a waist pack for his concealed weapon. In designing this I incorporated a pair of steel cables in the strap for the first time, to make it slice-proof. I tried 1/8" cable, which was way too thick, and then 1/16" aircraft cable, which worked very well. To this day I use a pair of 1/16" cables in all security straps whether for shoulder or crossbody bags, waist packs, or a la carte straps for your camera, camera bag, or briefcase. It is slice-proof and the strongest that works.


Next I incorporated the steel cables into the regular waist packs I sold at the Art Show. I added a Velcro wrapper to conceal the buckle and a swivel clip on a leash to secure the zippers. After over 800 Sundays at the Art Show, I had one of the first HipSafes™ in my hands and realized I was about to start a business to reach the world beyond the Art Show. That Sunday morning I was facing the sidewalk, Cabrillo Boulevard, and the mountains. Later that day I turned to face the Ocean and the vast world beyond. Now presenting my designs to the whole world via the Internet is a reality beyond any dream.

I was riding in a car with a niece and nephew and his family, going to Santa Maria to visit my parents. We were talking and I mentioned what I was doing. We proceeded to brainstorm for a name. It popped into mind that my products would definitely help to make a person's day and the name 
"DayMakers" became the next name for my work, succeeding Santa Barbara Leather Works and William Norris Designs. This was in October 1995. In January 1996 the first security waist pack with slice-proof strap and buckle and zipper security debuted on the cover of Magellan's Travel Catalog! This HipSafe™ put DayMakers™ on the map.


How DayMakers
 became what it is today is comprised of some longer stories for other days. I listen and am dedicated to providing excellent and personal service. Meanwhile I hope what I offer surpasses what you might be hoping to find. 

Please tell your friends!

At your service, 
Billy Norris 
owner / designer/ /custodian 
Office 805-937-9160 
Cell 805-406-2312 
Email: billy@daymakers.com