Kemo Sabe Grit Beginnings

Kemo Sabe GritMore than 25 years ago, in the Fall of 1990, in Snowmass, Colorado, Kemo Sabe opened its door for the first time. We have never strayed from our founding principles: Over-the-top Customer Service combined with a passion for the American West. When you’ve been around for 25 years and have traveled a lot of back roads and made thousands of mistakes, you can become GREAT at whatever it is you do. “If you wake up and find yourself a success, then you ain’t been asleep” is our way of explaining it.

As we celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2015, we proudly launched our own brand… Kemo Sabe Grit

To boast that Grit is hand-made and “Made in the USA” is actually an understatement. Over the years we have scoured what seems like every square inch of the American West searching for the perfect materials and items which we can transform into a piece you will treasure for years….bags, hat bands, belts, and leather goods. And of course… HATS

Kemo Sabe Grit – Hats

Kemo Sabe is Hats – we have been selling them for 25 years, and it has been a dream come true to start making our own!  We now have a fully running hat making facility with all the old antique equipment and good old hard work used to make hats.  Every step is a reinvention of the word: hand-crafted…

Meet the Maker: Charles Rutledge


Charles Rutledge- Milliner

Charlie is originally from Michigan, moved to Colorado in 1987 and became a snowboard pioneer and world traveler!  After traveling and living in several different countries, Charlie returned to the Colorado mountains he loves and with ingenuity and initiative, he learned the art of hat making!

Charlie’s part creative, part handy, and lots of patience has given Kemo Sabe Grit an amazing line of beautifully hand-crafted hats! Not only that, he parlays as our product photographer and our facilities manager, since we have had to expand 3 times since we launched Kemo Sabe Grit in December of 2015.  A guy with multiple talents, what a treasure!

Kemo Sabe Grit – Bags

Bags are a natural addition for our Kemo Sabe Grit line.  As we travel the US we find amazing vintage treasures in textiles, leather, and unique one of a kind materials.  We love to incorporate these materials in our hand bag designs.  We have many one of a kind and specialty bags that you will find in each of our stores!  We can’t wait for you to explore!

Meet The Maker - Qian


Qian Gu (Pronounced Chian) – Kemo Sabe Grit Hand Bags

Qian (also known as Fiona) is originally from China and is now a true Coloradoan.  Qian’s tenacity to learn bag making and excel in sewing have made her an invaluable asset to our Kemo Sabe Grit team.  Qian’s attention to detail and ability to adapt and design on the fly gives her the flexibility to come up with and create amazing bags! Kemo Sabe Grit’s bags are strong and sturdy, because Qian’s hard work and immense attention to every single detail!

Kemo Sabe Grit – Leather Goods

What would a western wear product line be without leather goods? Kemo Sabe Grit leather goods include; old leather rein hat bands, leather mason jars, hand tooled flasks, belts, guitar straps, and many other products! Hand-crafted in every way, these leather goods are true treasures!

Meet the Maker - Mar


Mar – Kemo Sabe Grit – Leather Goods

Mar is a Colorado local (however, born in California) who came to us as a professional tattoo artist and a single Dad. Mar started with Kemo Sabe Grit, making old leather reins hat bands.  However, his creativity, artistic talent, and ingenuity coupled with the intense desire to learn; Mar has taught himself leather tooling, perfected our distressing methods, and has increased Kemo Sabe Grit’s offering of leather goods!  We feel there isn’t much this guy can’t do!

Kemo Sabe Grit – Designers

Kemo Sabe has always been blessed with a very creative team. Starting with Nancy and Tom Yoder from the very beginning who started first distressing our hats and then designing our own boots with Lucchese. Now, our designs are further reaching from boots, hats, buckles, bags, jewelry, even home goods!  Our chief designer/ General Manager, Wendy Kunkle, has spent extensive time and energy evaluating what our customers like and traveling all over the west, visiting our vendors and always comes up with something even more (in her words) “Bad Ass” than before!  We are always challenged every season to bring the best and freshest designs to our 3 stores. However, designing is certainly a team effort!  All of our staff get a hand in designing!  However, there are a few extra that you’ll see behind many of the Kemo Sabe wide designs, below, meet some of our people, behind the designs!


Wendy – Chief Designer – General Manager

Wendy’s creativity is endless! She can on one hand design the most amazing boot and turn around the next day and come up with the best new product idea!  Wendy has MANY talents, as I’m sure all our customers already know, but here at Kemo Sabe, we think her creativity is her BEST!


Kate – Design Specialist – Aspen Store Manager

Kate is all about fashion!  If you need to know what is on trend and what was yesterdays design, just ask Kate!  She brings such bold and amazing combinations and creations.  Her choices of colors are usually spot on… however, we do try to keep her away from pink!


Lindsay – Design Specialist – Aspen Store Manager

Lindsay not only is our Aspen Store Manager, but her talent in knowing what our customers want is amazing!  She is on the floor everyday with our customers and truly knows what they want, even before they do!  Her input and design ideas are spot on!


Ashlee – Design Specialist – Las Vegas Store Manager – Social Media Expert

Ashlee has a pulse on fashion and what’s happening.  Let’s just say, she has an amazing knack for it and knows what her Las Vegas customer would LOVE!  Her creativity is endless, just look at some of the amazing photos on instagram… this is her speciality!!