About Us

The T.B. PHELPS Brand

Various Leather GoodsT.B. PHELPS celebrates Classic American Style. We pull from our history of designing some of the most iconic footwear, belts and handbags in the 20th century and update them for today’s fashion markets.

Thomas Phelps Bates began his career with a Connecticut leather goods factory in 1982.  Over the past 35 years, our team has made literally millions of leather products for some of the best stores and brand names in America, including our outdoor-inspired Thomas Bates brand.

For the past 16 years, Thomas has operated a small factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts, employing 25 workers who are hand-crafting belts, bags and wallets every day.  Our production floor is located in a 100 year old shoe manufacturing factory building.

Thomas created the T.B. PHELPS brand as a tribute to his aunt and uncle, Elsie and Bill Phelps, who in 1938 created PHELPS Leather Goods. The PHELPS brand was known for their unique and high quality belts and bags made in their Joanna Furnace, Pennsylvania factory. They were best known for making the original women’s leather messenger bag used by the US Army during WW II. From 1940-1950 PHELPS products were featured in numerous national magazines. PHELPS belt and bag designs are held in collections, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York. They also won a coveted Cody Award recognizing their unique designs.

T.B.PHELPS is also about fine American footwear. With our recent purchase of Custom Brand Footwear, who had been producing hand-lasted and hand-sewn footwear since 1998, we have an ongoing tradition of making comfortable men’s shoes that “fit”. Featuring classic styles in updated colors, T.B.PHELPS footwear is a benchmark for men who want comfortable shoes that can be worn every day.


T.B. PHELPS shoes are made in the finest footwear factories located in North and Central America. Most of our shoes are made using “genuine hand-sewn” construction. This means the leather is soaked in water, hand nailed to a form or “last” that shapes the shoe to a foot, and given time to properly mold to best fit the wearer. Our hand-sewn construction assures consistent fit and long lasting wear. Using the best leathers and components available, we provide our customers with footwear that satisfies even the most discriminating customer.

T.B. PHELPS belts and bags are primarily produced in our own 30 year old US leathergoods factory which is located in a 100 year old shoe factory building in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Our workers hand cut the leather and fabrics, and assemble each piece with the greatest attention to detail. We strive every day to make the finest quality accessory products in America.


We support both American made and sustainable global production. Our leathers are almost 100% American grown, and much of our accessories production comes from own USA factory located in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In early 2017, we plan to launch T.B. PHELPS footwear Made in the USA. As a long-standing US manufacturer, we work closely with our suppliers and global partners to encourage environmentally sustainable and fair labor production practices. Our goal is to build the highest quality products utilizing as much American materials and workmanship as possible.