Kristy from Farlands Leather, Perth
Meet Kristy, the maker behind the beautiful, unique Farlands Leather products included in these Wildwood Studio gift boxes:
Kristy is a Perth local who designs, makes and constructs small batch leather goods from her home studio in Perth, Western Australia.
She uses sustainable practices as much as possible and offers a choice of cow leather, kangaroo leather or vegan alternatives.
We asked Kristy to share a little bit about herself and the story behind her business, Farlands Leather.
How long have you been running your business?
I took over the business in November 2016, although I had been working for Farlands Leather prior to that.
How did you get started?
I was working for Farlands Leather, helping create and market the business, when the owner decided that she needed a break. I offered to purchase the business and voila – it was all mine.
Did you have to learn a specific skill? If so, how long did it take?
I learnt the leather trade on the job, although I have always been crafty and studied fashion and textile design prior to Farlands. So that helped!
What types of materials / ingredients do you work with?
I try to source vegetable-tanned, local leather that keeps mother nature happy and keeps my studio chemical-free. I buy hardware locally, where I can, and mainly use a mix of silver and brass. I make all my patterns and templates.
Where are your products made?
I cut, construct and assemble my leather goods, with love, from my home studio in Guildford, WA. I am moving to the Perth hills soon, so I’m hoping that the treechange will inspire a new range come 2019.
Do you use any specialised tools or equipment? Do you have something on your wish list that would improve your processes?
I stitch everything that has thread by hand. I would love to branch out and use a machine one day, but I also really love the chunkier stitching. I think that a machine might take away from the Farlands minimalist, unique style.
What do you love about the items you make or running your business?
Sometimes running a business like Farlands Leather is more about maths than anything else! Every hole needs to align, and every angle needs to look right and be exact or the piece will look ‘off’. I like that though, as I can tell straight away if something isn’t quite right.
I work alongside and collaborate with so many wonderful, likeminded small business owners, it makes running Farlands a really great experience.
Have you had to overcome any particular struggles to bring your business to life or keep it going?
It gets quiet in any retail or trade after Christmas through to around February/March.
But, I see this as the perfect opportunity to spend extra time with family and catch up on the areas of my life that miss out when it is busy.
What inspires you to keep going?
I’m mid-way through completing a degree in contemporary art at ECU. This gives me a lot of creative stimulation that I need to keep on going.
Where do your design ideas come from?
I think of practical pieces and ways a piece should be used. I’m less about the ‘frou-frou’ and more about functionality.
What’s the secret to your success as a maker / designer / creative business owner?
Hmmmm… success is a very strong statement. I don’t think I’m a success. I think I’m always working to do better, be better, communicate clearly and understand what my amazing stockists, clients and customers are after.
How did you grow your business? Did you adopt a specific approach to marketing?
I have a great relationship with some business advisors. Renee from Dreamhunter is always amazing at giving sound advice. She also takes my product photography for the website.
I have come to the realisation that if you do all the jobs in the business, it can look flat. You need outside help and re-assurance to keep the wheels turning and fresh.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d offer to a new maker / designer starting out today?
Keep on plugging away. Don’t quit your day job until you know your venture is going to work. Seek outside help with the areas you aren’t confident in.
Do you use any software, apps or other technology in your business? What are they and why do you use them?
I love Wave apps accounting system because it’s free and so easy to use.
If you had to choose another career – what would you be?
I’m working towards building a career in community arts. I have a passion for using making to bring people and community together. I think that’s why I love teaching workshops so much.
What’s your vision for your business going forward?
My vision is to use up all my scraps. I have mountains of scraps and offcuts and it’s a shame to throw them out, so I just store them for later.
What’s the best thing about your products being included in Wildwood Studio’s Gift Boxes?
I love that our leather products are practical and will last for a life time.
If Kristy’s story has inspired you to create a bespoke ‘experience in a box’ – get in touch.
Tell us which products you’d like to include, then leave the rest to us.