OréMoose: Former seminarians start Catholic-themed leatherworks company

David Kruse, co-founder of OréMoose Leatherworks, a Catholic-themed leatherworks manufacturer based in Mankato, Minn., holds a Bible clothed in a cover produced by the company. Kruse and Mitch Logeais, former seminarians at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, founded the company last year to encourage people to make the Word of God “an indispensable part of their lives.” (Photos courtesy of OréMoose Leatherworks)

Former Sacred Heart students David Kruse, Mitch Logeais seek to ‘clothe the Word of God’ through quality craftsmanship, artistic expression

MANKATO, Minn. ­— David Kruse always had an affinity for hand-crafted quality.

Spending his summers at his grandfather’s in California, working with leather tools, he learned the art of patience, planning and appreciation for craftsmanship that takes time.

As a seminarian studying for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minn., at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, he crafted a cover for his breviary. The work was so well done, it got noticed.

“We’d always have our Liturgy of the Hours book, and I wanted a leather cover,” Kruse told Detroit Catholic. “So I made one for myself. People started seeing it, and the guys loved them, so they asked if I’d make one for them. It kind of grew when I left the seminary in 2020, and by July 2020, I was looking for a job and had some leather jobs to do. So I took a couple of weeks off to make these covers.”

Mitch Logeais has been part of the OréMoose team from the beginning and has the “skills of a samurai with the leather tools,” according to the company’s website. 
David Kruse started OréMoose as a hobby, and has watched the Lord “grow a tree” from his seed of a company. He manages the business’ administration.  

Those couple weeks off turned into OréMoose Leatherworks (a clever pun on oremus, “let us pray,” in Latin). OréMoose Leatherworks is a Mankato, Minn.-based leatherworks manufacturer founded by Kruse and Mitch Logeais, another former Sacred Heart seminarian.

OréMoose specializes in leather covers for Bibles, breviaries, Magnificats, rosary pouches and satchels. The authentic leatherworks have a rustic, durable look to them, attracting customers who are drawn into the products’ durability and handcrafted quality.

“Our products are actual leather and are handmade,” Kruse said. “A lot of leather companies make their product out of really cheap, thin leather. Our leather is actually pretty thick, pretty durable. It’s all oil-tanned buffalo hide or elk, and the way we do the stitching patterns make it pretty unique. Since it’s all done by hand, it gives our products a look that is robust and will last forever.”

OréMoose’s website features its own philosophy page, describing the company as a place where quality, beauty and craftsmanship will take precedence. OréMoose products don’t make the Word of God any more true, but rather clothes the Word of God in a way that makes its truths better stand out, Logeais said.

Some of the products for sale through OréMoose Leatherworks include Bible and breviary covers, rosary pouches and other Catholic-inspired leather products produced by Logaeais’ and Kruse’s company. 

Kruse and Logeais work out of a small workshop, along with fellow team members Andrew Heller, Betsy Landsteiner and Neil Abbot, who fill various support roles and projects to keep the company going. But mostly it’s the two co-founders working away in the workshop, putting in six- to eight-hour days, three days a week crafting the merchandise for distribution around the country.

“If we were to pick just one Bible cover, cut it out and do the holes, the stitching, the button and the branching; from start to finish, it takes a little more than an hour,” Logeais said. “We try to find the most efficient way to make them, doing all the tracing, cutting it once and stitching it all at once. So it takes between a half hour to an hour for each product.”

Kruse and Logeais estimate they have made 600 to 700 items to fulfill 200 to 250 orders. Their website features customers posing with their products.

Believing in “contemplative work,” the two strike a balance between taking the time to make every item with an individual touch and while being industrious enough to make OréMoose a sustainable business.

While OréMoose’s products are a bit pricier, given that they’re American-made and from genuine leather, the co-founders hope the result is that customers open their Bibles or breviaries more often. 

A customer holds a Sacred Heart-inspired Bible cover made by the OréMoose team. 
A leather rosary pouch is one of many items customers can order through OréMoose's website. 

“We want to make somebody’s Bible an item that is reverent, to make it an indispensable part of their life,” Kruse said. “We have tons of people tell us after they get a cover that they can’t just put it on the shelf anymore. They can’t ignore that book anymore.”

Kruse and Logeais relished their time at Sacred Heart, even if they ultimately discerned the priesthood wasn’t their calling. While in Detroit, Kruse was involved in the seminarians’ acclaimed music ministry, which included several high-quality productions.

Beyond make Bible covers and rosaries pouches, OréMoose Industries, the umbrella organization of OréMoose Leatherworks, is reaching out into music, including starting a record label. Catholic artist Natalie Arend of Ann Arbor released the label’s first album, “Memories,” an instrumental piano album with spiritual songs.

Logeais said OréMoose Industries’ goal is to evangelize through beauty, crafting a community through quality work.

“We believe the Church should never stop producing great art,” Logeais said. “Great art is the natural byproduct of a creative Christian. The OréMoose project, OréMoose Industries LLC, is about clothing the Word, taking the Word of God and giving it artistic expression. We want to reach people who are maybe more ready to hear it through art than they are through the intellect or through various other mediums.”

OréMoose Leatherworks

For more information or to shop OréMoose products, visit www.oremoose.com.