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Weekly Business Profile

W!ld Moon Leather Designs
Val Hollingsworth
Type of business:
Custom leather apparel, bags and accessories

Sally Moon

Business Address:

206 1/2 San Felipe NW #4
Albuquerque NM 87104
(505) 247-2475

Business Email:

Business Website:

Walkin’ on the W!ld side … New Mexico Style. Sally Moon, designer and owner of W!ld Moon Leather Designs™ has been dressing women of all ages and sizes with her handcrafted couture leather designs and W!ld New Mexico style for 18 years. She celebrates her anniversary at her beautiful showroom in Albuquerque’s Old Town on May 18 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Moon believes every woman has a W!ld side that needs to be released and be expressed. For her, the first step toward full self-expression was how she dressed. Moon is a baby boomer and grew up when girls had to wear dresses to school; pants were not allowed. When she went to apply for a job at a phone company in California, there were separate employment offices for men and women. Here, again, women had to adhere to a strict dress code: skirts only. Women were not allowed to wear pants until the late-’70s. Despite this, Sally always dressed with flair and to the edge of office protocol.

After an early retirement, Moon went on a spiritual journey and practiced Native American ways. Sally was taught how to make her first leather bag for her sacred pipe in 1995. It was a talent that exploded from within her, as if she had rekindled knowledge from her DNA. Shortly after making her first bag, she went on a vision quest: four days in nature with no food or water; she prayed for a vision. Here she saw herself in a boutique, fitting a woman in a beautiful leather outfit. Eighteen years later, her “vision” is a reality.

Moon uses mostly deer and lamb hides to create her art because of their luxurious drape and texture. She says the leather warms to body temperature, and it feels like a second skin. The leather suedes are hand washable. When people are amazed that leather is washable, Sally jests that, “Native Americans did not have a dry cleaners; they had a cold river.”

Moon initially created custom leather designs out of her home, but space for all the leather hides and her new passion for textiles became a challenge. Her solution? Moon did what any prudent person would do in a downturn economy: open a shop. In September 2009, she opened the W!ld Moon Boutique™—Where the W!ld Woman Shops! in Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza, on the Patio Market behind La Placita Restaurant.

During a flight back from her bi-annual journey to Peru in March 2012, she had a vision. She saw what would be ultimately called the Xochitl™ Collection. Xochitl means flower in the Aztec/Nahuatl language. The collection uses hand-embroidered flowers from traditional huipiles (blouses) from Oaxaca, Mexico. Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican artist, often dressed in this traditional attire. By the time she landed in Albuquerque, she knew she needed space. By May’s end, the transformation of the space across the patio from the W!ld Moon Boutique was open to the public. With the help of many friends, and six weeks of cleaning and painting parties, the space was transformed into a beautiful and auspicious showroom ready to display Xochitl™. The Xochitl™ Collection was unveiled in three phases, September and December 2012, and Phase III in February 2013.

Unlike the days when Sally had time—before the boutique—to handle an entire project from beginning to end, she realized with the enormity of the project and the demands of the Boutique, she needed help. She put it out to her friends and the universe and, voila, people who were eager to learn and help showed up. Sally taught them all the handwork process to her high quality standards. Each bag is signed and numbered and can be worn and/or hung on the wall as art. It is wearable art.

What’s next? Moon revealed that after attending the Gathering of Nations in April, she is inspired to go really W!ld with a tribal look, using furs, bones, exotic skins, lots of long fringe and layers of W!ld edges … maybe even hand painting … who knows? She wakes up with creative inspiration, and it goes from there.

The W!ld Moon Boutique caters to baby boomer women of all sizes, XS to 5X. You will find hand-woven/embroidered/laced clothing from around the world, and she also carries pre-shrunk, washable linens and hemp skirts from the USA. Moon laughingly tells her clients that she works with illusion to disguise the "scale of time." Sally loves dressing women and helping them "love the one they are with" (their bodies) and feel good about themselves. She offers "Dress Me Up PlayTime™" for individuals and small groups. She does classes and fashion shows.

Sally Moon is the new VP of the Old Town Merchants Association. She is a member of the Business Women of Valencia County. And she is a dazante with Aztec dance group, Kapulli Ehecatl. She leads monthly full moon ceremonies in the Munay-Ki tradition, which are open to everyone.

Come to the W!ld Moon Leather Designs™ 18th anniversary celebration on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 1 to 4 p.m. Enjoy live music, refreshments, and meet the artist. W!ld Moon Boutique™ & W!ld Moon Leather Designs™ are in Albuquerque’s Old Town Patio Market, behind La Placita Restaurant on the Plaza.

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