Namu Leather Goods started in Perth in early 2018 and is run by Whale and I (Christine). We design and hand make all our leather goods, including the stitching process, so each item has its own unique and special detail. All our products are made at our shop in Alderley, Brisbane. It’s also a studio, shop, and filter coffee and tea bar.
Namu/ 나무 means tree in Korean, and we came up with this name because we wished for our business to spout, grow and branch out like a tree. We also hoped that our products resembled the nature of trees, by lasting for a long time and revealing its charm, characteristics and value as it ages. At Namu, we make: pouches, wallets, camera accessories, bags and many more. We occasionally combine up- cycled materials and collaborate with local artists and makers to create one- off pieces.
We’ve learnt that saying ‘no’ is okay. Although we always like to create things out of our comfort zone and explore creative designs, it is okay to say ‘no’ to certain custom items and requests. Being patient is also very important, and quality tools= smoother process.
Our shop was an ex tattoo studio & grocer. It has a beautiful shop front and is nicely lit. Whale made all the wooden furniture and display, and the shop is filled with our leather goods, Japanese paper goods and handmade items from Australian small businesses. At the back of the shop, we have our little work space on one side and the other side is our filter coffee and tea bar.
We start the day making a batch brew and then plan through what needs to be done (orders and admin- related tasks). In between making orders, we also serve our customers filtered coffee/ tea/ cold drinks and freshly made goodies from Bella and Tortie.
Whale: I like making bags like the Pigro Pouch and other big items.
Christine: Unlike Whale who has a lot of patience making bigger items, I find I enjoy making smaller items like the Peter- Gilbert Pouch, Wah- Kuen Pouch and the Enomoto Tissue Holder. I also enjoy making the Rachel Clutch– it has evolved so many times since its first appearance in 2018.
Namu has definitely grown since 2018. Our technique has developed since 2018 but we’re always interested in improving our technique and learning new skills. Our list of leather products has increased and there are now more leather options available for our customers to choose.
How we also get to interact with our customers has also changed– from just selling to family and friends to selling on our website, at markets and at our shop. We found that we’re able to efficiently communicate to customers and explain the options they have and the processes that we go through to make their pieces.
Having a small business is interesting. Even though our opening hours are 9am- 4pm, we sometimes bring our work home or do admin work till late. So there really isn’t any closing time. Although we don’t have a particular favourite book/ podcast, we enjoy taking a break and watching netflix/ anime. I feel sometimes giving yourself a break is very important as a small business and watching our favourite series/ anime allows us to do this.
Our first market was in Perth mid 2018. One of the many positives of including markets in our business plan is that we got the opportunity to meet many lovely, creative people and of course our wonderful customers. We’ve made so many friends through attending these markets. Not only do we get to discuss what we do at Namu, we also get to hear about their processes in their craft. It makes us appreciate handmade products even more than we already do. All of the ceramic and paper goods stocked at our shop are all made by our dear friends that we met on our leather crafting and market journey.
After moving back to Brisbane in 2020, we knew very few people in the handmade community. What we enjoyed the most about attending Market Folk is getting to meet other creatives in the Brisbane community and also our customers. We also like how the locations are so diverse. In a way, we got to travel to places we’ve never been to in Brisbane.
We’ll continue focusing on the shop and creating new products, as well as continue teaching workshops at our shop. For more exciting news, we’ll keep you posted on our instagram.
Visit Namu Leather Goods at:
South City Square Sunday 5th of December from 9am – 1pm
Coorparoo Square Sunday 12th of December 9am – 1pm
To learn more about visiting us visit www.themarketfolk.com.au/visit-us
Learn more about Namu at https://www.instagram.com/namuleathergoods/
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The Market Folk would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land in which our events take place on - The Turrbal and Yugara people. On behalf of our community of small businesses we want to pay our respects to the elders past, present and emerging.
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