Born and raised in the South Bronx, Ralphy Dominguez was a star student athlete when the lure of quick money in the drug trade landed him in federal prison. There, he enrolled in a leather work class and discovered a true passion for this artisan craft.
After release, Ralphy began to draw his own designs.
“When I put pen to paper I felt I was reinventing myself, as if I was now able to create the life and future I wanted.”
Dumas' famous line from The Count of Monte Cristo came to Ralphy's mind:
"More dread from pen and a sheet of paper than a sword or pistol."
In that moment, Pen & Pistol was born. Ralphy understood that this sense of self-determination could help others chose creativity over crime.
He teamed up with Refoundry and fellow participant Walter Escobar to help achieve these ambitions. .
Refoundry supports Ralphy and Walter in their goal to employ and inspire others emerging from prison, and to provide consumers with high quality handcrafted leather goods.