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Ashdown Workshop Q&A

May 12, 2017

1. Can you give us a brief history of the brand?

We, my father and I, started the brand back in May 2012. I was keen to start a brand of some sort and leather goods is where my real passion lay. My father slotted perfectly into the equation as he has a background in saddlery and producing other leather goods. One year later and we're going strong. We've had a great deal of support from our ever-growing customer base and we're now stocked in a select handful of stores around the world, including you guys at Urban Industry, our first ever stockist.


2. What inspired you to start a predominantly leather goods brand?

We both had the view to produce a range of clean, high quality, premium items that were all 100% handmade in the UK. My Father and his extensive background in the leather trade meant that we were always going to produce these premium goods out of leather, it just made sense to take advantage of the skills we already had to hand.


3. What are the advantages/challenges of working with leather?

Using leather definitely produces some beautiful products but it's not always without its problems. Being a natural product, people often forget that every single skin of leather is totally different in size and shape. With leather you also have slight variances in thickness and colour which takes some skill to work with in order to make sure you get the most out of the leather that you have. Small blemishes and marks add to the character of a piece, however we've had to send skins back if they don't quite match our high standards. You constantly have to be thinking about the next section you're cutting to use the leather in the most efficient way without any unnecessary wastage. Challenges aside, it is an amazing material to work with. Each piece will age, patina (darken) and gain its own character, similar to your favourite pair of selvedge denim or wax jacket.


4. How important to the brand’s ethos to source and manufacture its product in the UK?

Producing our items and sourcing our leather in the UK was top of our list when first starting the brand. It's something that we're still doing now one year on and will continue to do so for the lifespan of the brand. All of items are made in our East Sussex workshop and our leather is shipped down from our leather source in Northampton. It's great to see people really supporting UK made products, we've had great feedback on our brand ethos which is why we're sticking to our guns and sticking to the UK!


5. Anyone in particular you’d like to work with? Any exciting collaborations on the way?

We're always keen to work with other UK brands, in particular smaller brands that share the same views and passion as us. We have something interesting coming up with a couple of brands this year, so keep an eye out over the next few months.


6. Any advice for those looking to start a brand?

Be prepared for a lot of hard work, long hours and stress. I slowly started to realise that there was so much more to running a brand than I had originally anticipated. Whilst we're hard at work hand-stitching leather, there are also a lot of other mundane things that must be done in order to keep the business running. I'm not going to bore you with the ins and outs, but it’s a lot sometimes. That said, the positives out weight the negatives for sure. Even in our first year I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people, learnt a lot of lessons. Put in the hard work and you'll get a lot back.


By SeanM

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