When you walk into Buffalo Collection, you enter a Western-inspired world with exquisite quality and one-of-a-kind artisan pieces, and the owners are crafted from that same fine silk.
Furniture made with buffalo leather is known for its exceptional durability and softness, and the heirloom-quality furniture offered at Buffalo Collection is the perfect example. Michael and Laura Levenberg opened the unique Scottsdale showroom and gallery after an overgrazed Colorado cattle ranch was converted into a bison ranch as a land restoration experiment.
“It went so well that before long there were too many bison for the amount of land, and a local meat business was started,” says Michael Levenberg. “Not wanting the hides to go to waste, there was a local tanner who could tan the bison hides properly, creating beautiful upholstery leather.”
After having bison leather scientifically studied, it was found to not only be twice as thick as a typical cow hide, but also 40 percent stronger in cellular structure. It contains a higher percentage of collagen in the dermal layers, has an incredible hand, and it is softer to the touch.
"They said they never sat on something so comfortable and luxurious, never touched or smelled leather so beautiful, and they wanted to hear the story about it.”
A fourth-generation furniture maker happened to visit the ranch, and the vision was to outfit the ranch houses in handcrafted America buffalo leather furniture and build each piece with heirloom quality. He was hired to help design and build the custom furniture all upholstered in the exquisite bison leather.
“At first it was pieces for the ranch itself, the plan was to replace the generic furniture that was there with the new buffalo furniture designs,” says Michael. “Before long, people who were visiting the ranch began asking about it. They said they never sat on something so comfortable and luxurious, never touched or smelled leather so beautiful, and they wanted to hear the story about it.”
“They would ask, ‘How can I get a buffalo couch?’”
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As the furniture at the ranch grew in popularity, the Levenbergs helped open the first showroom in Aspen, Colorado. A few years later, the couple moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to expand the business, opening the second Buffalo Collection gallery in December 2011.
“We had both showrooms going for a while and then eventually consolidated everything to our main Scottsdale showroom,” says Laura Levenberg. “People come down from Colorado and all over the United States to shop here.”
It’s no surprise that Buffalo Collection has clients from around the country, with the gallery’s well-earned reputation for high-quality furniture and artisanal craftsmanship.
“We know personally every single artist and craftsman that we represent here, which is a sharp contrast to ordering online, out of a catalogue or at a trade show,” says Michael Levenberg. “We go to their studios and workshops, visit with them at least once a year to see what they’re doing and what’s new, learn more about their personal history, and experience their techniques and pieces.”
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Not only does the showroom offer its signature, genuine bison leather furniture, it’s also filled with stunning wood tables, organic lamps and lighting, decor and original artwork including paintings, sculptures, pottery and more.
“As we met other artists and as people found us, it evolved over time into more of a gallery with more museum-quality artwork,” says Laura Levenberg.
The Levenbergs said it was a natural progression to merge together their hand-crafted bison furniture with artwork to create a unique shopping space and experience.
“It makes us feel really good to be representing actual people and not just a product they sell,” says Michael Levenberg. “It also provides the ability to do custom work; we probably do about 75 percent custom work for folks. If they see a particular table they love but need it to be 14 inches longer, and so on, we can create the perfect piece for them.”
“We build everything to last 100 years, it can be handed down to your kids and your grandkids, it’s an investment.”
“If they want a different finish or species of wood, we can do pretty much anything and combine different materials,” he adds.
Not only are the pieces beautiful and hand crafted, but they are also built to last for generations.
“We build everything to last 100 years, it can be handed down to your kids and your grandkids, it’s an investment,” says Michael Levenberg. “We work with museum-quality artisans and craftsmen so that these pieces are timeless and not trendy.”
What’s next for the Levenbergs and Buffalo Collection? They expanded their fine bison leather offerings including handbags, luggage and journals along with custom-designed clothing, jewelry, art and unique gifts. They felt these pieces were getting lost or didn’t have a place in the home furnishings gallery, so they opened Buffalo Boutique last November, and we are loving the new space.
Whether you are local or traveling into Scottsdale to see Michael and Laura, you are sure to be greeted with their always warm personalities and friendly smiles, eager to put one on your face, too.
For more information, visit buffalocollection.com or call 480.946.3903.