I met Sabine at last Autumn’s Crafty Fox Market, and was completely taken with her beautifully simple leather accessories, all made with end of line material and off-cuts in fantastic colours.
I asked her about starting SˉGerth, sourcing materials, and her fantastic side project, Limited Space.
How and when did you start working with leather?
I first got properly into contact with leather at my last job for an accessories label where, amongst other things, I designed and made their small jewellery collection.
For personal reasons I had to take a year off which I spent mostly in Germany. When I got back to London I needed a project so started to design a few little accessories and experimenting with leather.
How do you source your materials, and was it hard to find suppliers who’d sell on a small scale?
London has such a great variety of leather merchants so I can just go and have a look around, feel the material and talk to the experts.
They don’t really mind how much you buy. The merchants are all very nice and helpful, and so far I’ve felt that they all support small businesses. Obviously they won’t order any special colours or styles in for you if you can’t reach their minimum amounts, which I find fair, and so far I just always go with stock they have there and then
I love to use end of line leathers or off-cuts, but I source the highest quality I can find. My main criteria is that it has to feel good. I could never by leather online, I am a very haptic person.
What is your dream or future plan for SˉGerth?
I obviously hope I can slowly grow my business and range of designs, but keep the speciality of unique, individual items. It would be amazing to get to a point where I can get help in for the manufacturing to free more time for new designs and more experiments.
I’d also love to expand my men’s range as I get a lot of male customers that wish I had a few more items especially for their needs.
I started holding workshops in 2014 so would love to expand on that as well. I’m planning for short (maybe 2-3 hour) classes, and I’ll develop special designs for basic skills with no sewing involved! I will advertise them on Twitter and Instagram, and with flyers on my market stall.
Tell us more about the amazing limited space project. How can other designers get involved?
Limited space is a project I started together with my partner Darren Beaumont when I got back from Germany and wasn’t so sure about what to do next. Finances were very tight and space was limited.
Darren found a lot of things on the street and brought them back to make things for the flat. He found so much material and paint that he had the first idea of transforming the little bin shed outside our flat into an art gallery, to showcase our work.
As we had collected all money we found on the street over the last few years separately we used that to buy drinks and decorations for the opening. We wanted this whole thing to be done without spending any more money. It was open for three days and a great success!
So the whole idea behind limited space is to use restricted, small spaces that are wasting away and to turn them into a facility to showcase artists and designers without needing a big budget. Since then I have concentrated on SˉGerth and limited space has just been in the background, but it would most certainly be a great thing to revive it and do more of it, so if anyone wants to get involved, please get in touch!
What advice would you give to someone looking to change careers to do something different?
Not sure if I am the right person to give any advice… ‘follow your heart’, and ‘be persistent’ are maybe the two things that I find most important. It is not the easiest of paths, to be self employed, but it can be very rewarding. I’ve met a lot of very inspiring creative people on my way who have helped a lot with feedback and advice.
Thank you Sabine!
Etsy – SGerthDesigns
Twitter – @S_Gerth
Instagram – @S_Gerth
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