40 under 40: Meet Lynsey Ellis
Monday, 6 March 2023
Lynsey EllisEvery Monday, we are celebrating oneof our 40 under 40 makers.
This week we are getting to know Lynsey Ellis. A qualified bridle and harness maker, Lynsey has her own business predominately focusing on saddlery repairs.
Get to know her in our Q&A.
Tell us a bit about what you do?Hi, I’m Lynsey Ellis and I trained at Walsall College from 2002 to 2006 as a saddlery student. In 2006, I qualified as a bridle & harness maker and I set up my own business. I do a lot of saddlery repairs and make new bridles but my real love of working with leather is making belts, dog collars, dog leads and bags. I also have my own pony Scrumpy who is a Dressage Diva and Trec pony, Fly is retired but both of them have had stunning bridles made for them. Elsa my dog has her own collars and leads made for her. Also, I work with Carriage horses and this has given me a greater insight of how the harness is used.
How did you get into making leather goods?I had decided uni wasn’t for me as I was a practical person and I loved my horses but knew I didn’t want a career with horses outside as an instructor. Luckily a friend suggested saddlery, so after a bit of research and finding only two colleges I decided Walsall was for me, being in the heart of the saddlery industry. My two year course went to four and once qualifying and setting up my business I found a Gentleman Saddler to help out a day a week. His knowledge was invaluable and helping him out led me to making a ‘trade in hand bridle, roller and side reins’ for his customer. It was nice to have the support of a knowledgeable saddler that had done so much.
What is your favourite product to make?I love making belts. Although an easy make, it gives me satisfaction that the wearer gets to use the belt for many years and they last.
What do you love most about working with leather?Working with leather can be so versatile and there is so much choice that you can make almost anything. When I started I was quite traditional (I am with bridles black, browns and tan) but with the belts, canine leatherwork and bags there is such a variety of colour you can use if your customers want this it gives a new element to it.
What are your next goals?I have started with quite simple bags but I’d like to work towards making different bags and cases.
What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about becoming a leather worker or who has just started out?My advice to anyone starting out is to not be afraid to work with others. Everyone needs advice, and it’ll always work both ways and also not doing yourself down by being too cheap but get the pricing right from the beginning especially when considering material costs.
What does it mean to you to be included in the 40 under 40 list?Being in the 40 under 40 list means that I can show my work to others and I can share what I know and I’m proud of what I do.
How important do you think it is to keep traditional techniques alive in the modern world?All of what I do is very traditional! Although I have come to realise that there are modern techniques and plenty of different ways in making things in the way that suits the items being made!
What have you done to keep relevant in a digital age?So… I am the dinosaur of digital and my practical skills far outweigh my digital skills! I use Facebook and Instagram a little and have noticed that by advertising the events that you go to, like the craft fairs people do look out for you and bring you repairs and support you and a busy stall brings people over to look and take a card and hopefully come back to you in future.
What is the biggest challenge to becoming successful in your discipline?For me, technology is my biggest issue for selling my makes, but word of mouth still works but it doesn’t always catch the wider audience. My aim would be to be able to broaden my advertising of my makes as I love what I do :-)
For more information, please visit www.ellisleatherwork.co.uk
To join this netwrok of great makers please follow Lynsey's Instagram page HERE