When we stumbled upon Haute Hyde’s social media and realized she’s a local maker here in Fargo creating handcrafted leather bags we knew we needed to learn more about the maker behind them! Tracy Jordre began her business through the pandemic and with her background in architecture and growing up around ranching it’s like Haute Hyde is a perfect collision of creativity and experiences that led her to this. Read on for more of her story!
Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Tracy Jordre and I live in Fargo with my husband, Kevin and our 2 kids, Cole and Annika. I grew up on a ranch near Warwick, ND and have spent the past 30 years as an Architect practicing with firms in Colorado, Georgia and North Dakota. This past spring, I made a huge change and decided to give architecture a pause as I just simply needed a mental break after a personally daunting 2021 that ended with me getting Covid on Christmas day.
Throughout the pandemic, I had been having fun making bags for my friends and family, but really it was just a playful thing to do to take my mind off of the stress of all that was happening around me… but my fun, quirky hobby quickly turned into a passion and ultimately Haute Hyde Fargo was created!
Describe what type of products you make?
I design and create structured leather bags that I describe as “Luxuriously Simple”. I only use vegetable-tanned leather that is sourced from North American cattle and that is of the highest quality available. Being from a multigenerational ranching family, it is so important to me that American leather is used as the foundation of my products. I have several bag styles that can be used as a purse and a computer bag and I just recently released a saddle bag, called “The Ashlynn”, for those that like smaller cross-body style bags. I have more styles that I’m currently designing and I can’t wait for when I can release those this fall.
Tell us how you got started with creating your leather bags?
A few years ago, I needed a bag that would be a purse and computer bag combo for work. I spent several hundred dollars on a couple of different designer bags that did not stand up well to use and I was very frustrated. So, I jumped on YouTube and Instagram and started following several leather makers who were creating products that I was really impressed by, and little by little, I started taking up projects that intrigued me. The next thing I knew, I had bought a leather sewing machine and a small arsenal of tools that got me started creating.
Tell us about your business name?
In 1994, I traveled throughout Europe as part of a study abroad program with the NDSU Architecture department and at the time, I fell in love with Hyde Park in London. In 2020, when I was trying to come up with a company name, I was intrigued by the idea of spelling a leather hide as “hyde” and it brought back so many memories of that trip and of Hyde Park. So, the name was truly inspired from that trip a few decades ago.
Also, I was very intentional in making sure that Fargo was part of my company name because that is an incredibly important part of the story. I am so proud to live in Fargo and I hope that someday this brand may allow more people to discover this incredible place that I call home.
What is your personal favorite creation so far?
I think I’d get in a lot of trouble if I didn’t say that my favorite bag is “The Annika” being it’s named after my beautiful daughter!
Up to this point, my bags have been named after many of the wonderful girls in my life; my daughter, my nieces and even one of my favorite dogs. It’s been a fun way to bring my family into the mix of the business and allow them to share in the joy and successes along the way.
What is something people might find surprising about working with leather or bag design?
One of the biggest challenges is to get the exact right weight and temperament of leather for the bag design. If the leather is too thick or thin by even a ½ oz, it will dramatically impact the bag and how it performs over time.
What’s the most essential thing to you in a good bag?
That the person carrying the bag feels confident and beautiful. The details of what constitutes a “good bag” are as individual as the person carrying the bag, so I know that my bag designs will not be for everyone and that’s OK, but I want everyone who carries a HH bag to truly feel confident and beautiful!
What is something you’ve enjoyed the most about doing this handcrafted business?
The complete freedom to design, to explore, to learn, to grow, to challenge, and to fail… it’s all on my own terms and I absolutely love that!
What is the most challenging thing?
For me, it’s making sure that I don’t forget to look up and smell the roses all around me. I can so easily get consumed by the daily production, that I lose track of the fact that I am doing this from a position of joy and not obligation. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to redefine my terms of what a working day looks like and what I need to achieve to feel successful. It’s a very beautiful place to be in and I’m not taking it for granted!
What is a word that best describes you?
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
To spend every single day working towards building and pursuing my dream life and not what someone else has defined that to be.
Where can people find your work?
Right now, my designs are all on my website. However, I’m also currently in discussions with a local retailer to start selling my bags in their store, so fingers crossed, I will have a local retail location very soon! This fall, I will also be showing at the Pride of Dakota showcases in Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks. Please check out my Instagram and Facebook pages as I try to provide regular updates, product features and occasional behind-the-scenes videos.
Learn more at hautehyde.com