Tell us a bit about Sail. Who are you and what do you do?
Sail is run predominantly by myself (Lisa) but my partner Leon is still involved in the background and helps with direction of the business. He also helps out with the workload during busier times.
Working from a small workspace attached to our home in Derbyshire, England, we handcraft a small collection of functional leather products for men and women.
Using traditional leather craft techniques and some of the finest materials, we make every piece by hand. We don’t use any machinery or industrial tooling for our leather goods, we just keep things very simple. We still use original 1960s Irish linen Barbour thread which we hand wax with natural beeswax.
Give us a taster of the products you sell. Any particular favourites?
A lot of our designs are based on vintage and retro designs, such as our messenger bag, which we based around original 1940s Second World War bag designs. Its simplicity and functionality is what makes this bag for us. It’s like a daily ‘work horse’ in the form of a bag.
I think our personal favourite pieces are our camera straps. With Leon being a photographer himself and I, a lover of photography for its art form, knowing that our straps are heading out on a little adventure with their new owner and being a part of someone’s story or journey, feels very special.
What are the joys of working with leather?
Working with un-dyed vegetable tanned leather by hand is by no means the easy option but I think that because of this, when a piece is in its final stages and you apply that last buff of polish, you know you have created a piece that will last and hopefully be with someone for many years.
We choose to use natural vegetable tanned leather because it is free from heavy chroming and chemicals and is the most environmentally way to tan leather. By using this leather, its character and natural imperfections of the hide can still be seen; this is what we love about it. This leather often tells a story, all of its own.
Taking vegetable tanned leather through the processes from our hand dyeing methods to certain polishing finishes, we can achieve many different variations and looks for every hide we use. It’s like a creative freedom. The colours and tones are all organic and will vary from piece to piece. This is what our customers like and recognise from our work.
What’s important to you?
Staying true to what we believe and feel is right is most important to us. We didn’t start Sail for a get quick rich plan. We started Sail to create a working hub within our home environment, suiting our family needs and allowing us to direct our own future while earning a living along the way. We are in this for the long haul, so we are passionate about our brand and making the right choices.
We know our workload would be easier (and our hands would also feel happier!) if we stocked up on machinery to stitch our leather goods but for now, our methods work for us and we feel very lucky that it does.
Any exciting plans for 2015?
We are really looking forward to this year. We have some new products in the pipeline, already started working on a small collaboration project and for the first time, we are hitting the road, taking our products to fairs and events around the UK.
We are also looking at working with natural dyes (fruits and plants) more and plan to launch a unique Spring/Summer collection into our Women’s range.
This year, we also hope to build a new studio, at the bottom of our garden of course, so as to share it with our children and turn it into more of a communal, creative family space.