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40 Under 40: Meet The London Leather Workshop

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Every Monday, we are celebrating on of our 40 under 40 makers. 
This week we are talking to Sara & Melissa, Co-founders of the London Leather Workshop. Lets get to know them with a Q&A session.

Tell us a bit about what you do?

We are Sara and Melissa, co-founders of The London Leather Workshop and we offer professional services for creatives in the accessory and leather goods industries.
We work with local and international customers, from start-ups to established brands, supporting them from design to manufacturing through product development, sampling, and material sourcing.
At The London Leather Workshop, we also design and manufacture our signature embroidered leather appliqué decorations for fashion and interiors.
Last but not least, we share our expertise through group classes and one-to-one training in accessory design and making and leather crafts. 

How did you get into making leather goods?

We were both trained in fashion design, in fact, this is how we met and become friends back in Italy. Before gradually turning to exclusively accessories and leather goods with The London Leather Workshop, we gained many years of experience in different sectors of the fashion industry as designers, product developers, quality control, machinists... the list goes on!
We both started falling in love with leather and leather goods around the same time, but from different places. Sara was employed by a renowned London handbag brand in London and Melissa by an Italian fashion designer based in one of the most popular historical leather districts in Italy, in beautiful Tuscany.
In 2012, our paths met again in the UK, so we decided to pursue our shared passion, focusing exclusively on accessories and leather goods. Together, we founded the London Leather Workshop.


What is your favourite product to make?

The one we haven’t made yet!
We feel so blessed to be working with such amazing designers on incredible projects and enjoy the challenge of creating something different every day. Watching an idea taking shape and coming to life is the best thing in the world.


What do you love most about working with leather?

We love working with leather because it is a very versatile natural material: it can be molded, stretched, thinned, or reinforced, adapting to any project you have in mind and allowing you to dare with shapes and textures.
When you work with full-grain hides, every skin is different and has its unique character, making every item unique.
We also love leather because of its durability, which is synonymous with quality and sustainability.
And what about the smell?! ;)


What are your next goals? 

The London Leather Workshop is growing: we are currently finalising new exciting courses launching in 2023, and we are planning to increase our offer of private and group classes. We are also excited to announce that we will be expanding our team: we will start recruiting after the winter holidays.


What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about becoming a leather worker or who has just started out?

Be patient: leather is a beautifully complex material, and a lifetime is probably not enough to learn everything about it. You will always feel you need to know more, learn new tricks and discover new techniques: go for it, but remember to enjoy the process!
Be curious and humble: listen to what the experts say: people in this industry are amazingly generous with sharing their knowledge. Look, listen, and treasure.
Be creative and courageous: once you have learned the techniques, find your own way and experiment.


What does it mean to you to be included in the 40 under 40 list?

It is an absolute honour to be included in the 40 under 40 list among such talented craftspeople! Knowing that so many people appreciate our work to the extent of nominating us makes us very proud and grateful. 

How important do you think it is to keep traditional techniques alive in the modern world?

Keeping traditional craftsmanship alive in the modern world is incredibly important for us. If we lose traditional skills and knowledge, we will ultimately lose our heritage, identity, and know-how in this industry. However, we do recognise the need to combine traditional and modern techniques to ensure sustainability and efficiency.

What have you done to keep relevant in a digital age?

The digital world is moving extremely fast, and we believe it is essential to have a meaningful online presence. We wouldn't be here if we hadn’t invested time and resources in building an appealing and informative website and a presence for our brand on social media. There was a lot of self-learning involved, which doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us given our training: we are really proud of what we achieved.

What is the biggest challenge to becoming successful in your discipline?

Being successful implies having a good customer base and public recognition, so the biggest challenge for us is being seen. In order to be successful, we firmly believe that it is essential to show your craft and skills to the right people, gain their trust, and built your reputation in the process.


For more information, please visit www.thelondonleatherworkshop.com 

40 Under 40: Meet The London Leather Workshop

_________________________________________________

Every Monday, we are celebrating on of our 40 under 40 makers. 
This week we are talking to Sara & Melissa, Co-founders of the London Leather Workshop. Lets get to know them with a Q&A session.

Tell us a bit about what you do?

We are Sara and Melissa, co-founders of The London Leather Workshop and we offer professional services for creatives in the accessory and leather goods industries.
We work with local and international customers, from start-ups to established brands, supporting them from design to manufacturing through product development, sampling, and material sourcing.
At The London Leather Workshop, we also design and manufacture our signature embroidered leather appliqué decorations for fashion and interiors.
Last but not least, we share our expertise through group classes and one-to-one training in accessory design and making and leather crafts. 

How did you get into making leather goods?

We were both trained in fashion design, in fact, this is how we met and become friends back in Italy. Before gradually turning to exclusively accessories and leather goods with The London Leather Workshop, we gained many years of experience in different sectors of the fashion industry as designers, product developers, quality control, machinists... the list goes on!
We both started falling in love with leather and leather goods around the same time, but from different places. Sara was employed by a renowned London handbag brand in London and Melissa by an Italian fashion designer based in one of the most popular historical leather districts in Italy, in beautiful Tuscany.
In 2012, our paths met again in the UK, so we decided to pursue our shared passion, focusing exclusively on accessories and leather goods. Together, we founded the London Leather Workshop.


What is your favourite product to make?

The one we haven’t made yet!
We feel so blessed to be working with such amazing designers on incredible projects and enjoy the challenge of creating something different every day. Watching an idea taking shape and coming to life is the best thing in the world.


What do you love most about working with leather?

We love working with leather because it is a very versatile natural material: it can be molded, stretched, thinned, or reinforced, adapting to any project you have in mind and allowing you to dare with shapes and textures.
When you work with full-grain hides, every skin is different and has its unique character, making every item unique.
We also love leather because of its durability, which is synonymous with quality and sustainability.
And what about the smell?! ;)


What are your next goals? 

The London Leather Workshop is growing: we are currently finalising new exciting courses launching in 2023, and we are planning to increase our offer of private and group classes. We are also excited to announce that we will be expanding our team: we will start recruiting after the winter holidays.


What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about becoming a leather worker or who has just started out?

Be patient: leather is a beautifully complex material, and a lifetime is probably not enough to learn everything about it. You will always feel you need to know more, learn new tricks and discover new techniques: go for it, but remember to enjoy the process!
Be curious and humble: listen to what the experts say: people in this industry are amazingly generous with sharing their knowledge. Look, listen, and treasure.
Be creative and courageous: once you have learned the techniques, find your own way and experiment.


What does it mean to you to be included in the 40 under 40 list?

It is an absolute honour to be included in the 40 under 40 list among such talented craftspeople! Knowing that so many people appreciate our work to the extent of nominating us makes us very proud and grateful. 

How important do you think it is to keep traditional techniques alive in the modern world?

Keeping traditional craftsmanship alive in the modern world is incredibly important for us. If we lose traditional skills and knowledge, we will ultimately lose our heritage, identity, and know-how in this industry. However, we do recognise the need to combine traditional and modern techniques to ensure sustainability and efficiency.

What have you done to keep relevant in a digital age?

The digital world is moving extremely fast, and we believe it is essential to have a meaningful online presence. We wouldn't be here if we hadn’t invested time and resources in building an appealing and informative website and a presence for our brand on social media. There was a lot of self-learning involved, which doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us given our training: we are really proud of what we achieved.

What is the biggest challenge to becoming successful in your discipline?

Being successful implies having a good customer base and public recognition, so the biggest challenge for us is being seen. In order to be successful, we firmly believe that it is essential to show your craft and skills to the right people, gain their trust, and built your reputation in the process.


For more information, please visit www.thelondonleatherworkshop.com