A rising independent brand called ‘St Leonards’ features leather bags that are made with great care, delicacy and personalized features. All products are handcrafted at the home studio of K Avery-Stallion or by using out-sourcing to a London workshop.
Founded in 2010, the owner sold her Figaro convertible to raise £6000 to buy the first prototypes and from this, the business began to flourish. The products are currently exported to a Japanese department store called Watanabe British Made who sell new British brands. The leather bags are featured in two of their stores, Tokyo and Osaka.
The business also receives a lot of customer referrals from the online marketing of the directory Make it British. Not only that, but K Avery-Stallion has made some bespoke pieces for the design icon Margaret Howell. Interns from local colleges are also involved for the understanding of the design and leather manufacturing process.
“Having worked in fashion and overseen Far East and Indian manufacturing, I had plenty of contacts,” said K Avery-Stallion. “But for me, being close to the making process not only supports the UK economy, it revitalises dying skills and is more sustainable too.”
St Leonards recently launched a set of three 1-day leather workshops that gives both men and women a chance to try something new, leaving with a stylish handcrafted product. The workshops are limited to 4 people to each session, meaning anyone who wants to be involved will also get an engaging tutor experience as well as a welcoming learning vibe.
“My dream is to get big enough orders to be able to fund a dedicated seaside workshop, employ staff from the local community and set up apprenticeships too,” said the founder.
On Friday 1st May, local British designers of women’s clothes, shoes, jewellery and accessories are selling old stock and samples. St Leonards is participating in the event with other designers such as Pearl & Queenie, Olivia Morris Shoes, Warp & Weft and more. The event will be held on 40a Norman Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex.
You can find out more about St Leonards here.