Next in our series of groomsmen inspiration is a shop specializing in wallets made with quality and durability (the kinds of features men always appreciate!) When I asked one of our groomsmen (who had served as a groomsman at many other previous weddings) what groomsman gift he liked the most, he said without missing a beat, a leather wallet. His reason? It wasn't your typical "groomsman gift." It wasn't a flask that fell apart, or nicknack that served no purpose but to collect dust. He appreciated the quality and usefulness of it.
Enter our next Vendor Spotlight, Office of Minor Details on Etsy. Based out of Aukland, New Zealand, Iain from Office of Minor Details individually hand makes wallets out of New Zealand kid leather, which is some of the best leather in the world. They're kind of leather goods that showcase the practicality and rugged style that attract many guys. I received a wallet from Iain, and I was very impressed with the texture and appearance of the leather. Soft, simple and sturdy, they make great gifts for the men in your party. They're small enough to fit cards and dollar bills -- perfect for the guy who doesn't like carrying a bulky wallet around (much like my guy;).
At around $30 a wallet, these are gifts that are affordable for the quality--I've seen a generic flask, or random paper weight sold at that price at many of these "groomsmen gift" stores!
So without further ado, all the way from Aukland, New Zealand, here's Iain from Office of Minor Details.
Name:Hi, my name is Iain and I am ‘The Office of Minor Details’.
I live in work in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. The thing I enjoy most about Auckland is it’s close proximity to amazing beaches and forests…and it’s just close enough to the mountains to allow a bit of winter snowboarding.
What got you started in making leather products?
The first project that got me involved in leather was a cover for my architectural portfolio. I had to buy a whole skin to the small piece of leather that I needed. The folio turned out so well I thought I would have a go at making the satchel I had always been looking for but never found. A friend saw my new satchel and asked my to make him one, the rest is history.
How long have you been making these products?
I made my first bag about 5 years ago. For a long time making leather was a part time hobby due to work commitments. I would just make things for friends as commissions or gifts. In the last year I have reduced my salaried working hours and have made time to produce leather goods for sale. The response has been amazing and I am really enjoying the life / work balance this has created.
What makes New Zealand leather so good?
New Zealand leather is great because all of our livestock are free range so they generally have a healthy and happy life which in turn produces happy, healthy leather. Most New Zealand leather is exported so my suppliers are always happy to find a small local craftsman making quality products to work with.
Your products are all handmade. Can you tell me a little bit about the process?
Originally this was because I made my first pieces with the tools I was already using at home: a knife, a punch, needle and thread. This has developed into an ethos now though; I enjoy the back to basics approach, the tactile nature of working with your hands and the freedom it creates.
All the leather I use is hand selected at my local suppliers. I then cut each piece to my own patterns, punch holes for the stitching and then stitch each piece in the living room of my house using needles and thread (usually listening to my favorite music).
Tell me something unique about your products.
In my former full time working life I was an architect. As a result my designs are very functional, simple and intuitive and I see my works as miniature structural problems. All of my patterns are based on the idea of using one piece of leather and folding it to create an enclosure. This produces sturdy designs with a minimum of weak points and uses the natural strength of the leather to maximum advantage. The fact that my work is hand stitched allows me to connect pieces of leather in a way that could never be done with a machine.
Please take the time to check out my Etsy shop, I hope you like the work!
Links where we can find out more about The Office of Minor Details
Iain is giving away a wallet from The Office of Minor Details!
Additional entries (remember to leave separate comments for each additonal entry)
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The deadline to enter this contest is 11:59 p.m., Friday, April 29, 2010 (PST). A winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck!