best leather work totePart II: Heather & Hide Story
By Kelly Droz, Intern
Kelly Droz is a Heather & Hide intern, fashionista and blogger, she sat down this summer with owner, Heather Madonia
for a 2 part interview. Here is Part II focusing on how Heather and Lindsay built their brand from the ground up!
K: What makes Heather & Hide unique?
H: First, our products; on the outside, the focus is meant to be on craftsmanship, versus embellishments. However, when you open up the bag the wild lining and pop of color in the zippers gives a touch of personal style. Second, our overall process of making these bags. We are a tight knit family business where my mom and sister are both very involved in the design and manufacturing processes of every single bag. Not many people have the luxury of working that closely with their family and I think that passion and pride shows in our work! Each piece is crafted in an environment of love.
K: How did the name “Heather & Hide” come to?
H: A few things went into choosing our name, but ultimately deciding on Heather & Hide was our way of describing who we are as a team. Heather & Hide purposely resembles two different, well know duos in pop culture; my up and down design style resembles the psychiatric condition from the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the hectic, but well-oiled partnership between Lindsay and I is similar to Bonnie and Clyde. These references, combined with the more obvious ones of “leather” rhyming with Heather and replacing “hyde” with “hide” eventually resulted in the final choice of Heather & Hide.
K: What are some of the challenges you face as a small design house?
H: Honestly I struggle the most with creating a unique product, within my budget and demographic constraints. I always want to make crazy art pieces that I love and would wear, but I am constantly reminding myself that I don’t have endless money to create random things that perhaps, won’t sell. It’s a fine line between allowing your creativity to come out in full force and building a product that represents you as a designer, but speaks to a large audience. At the end of the day, you have to make a product that people will buy.
K: Where do you get the materials necessary for the purses?
H: I went to college in central North Carolina close to what was once considered the “furniture capital of the world.” When the furniture companies discontinue a color they likely have a few left over hides which they sell through a local distributor. I made the contacts while there and still buy my leather from North Carolina. As far as the lining goes, I am currently just purchasing fabric through a few local fabric dealers such as Fancy Tiger Crafts and Colorado Fabric.
K: How long does it take to produce a bag?
H: The key to our production process is small scale mass production. I’ve basically created my own assembly line flow that has cut our per piece time, in half. Making one bag from start to finish takes about 4 hours. However, producing 10 bags at a time decreases production time to 2 hours per bag.
K: Where do you see Heather & Hide in 1 year from now? Five years from now?
H: We are really focused on getting more of our products in retail shops/boutiques across the US. In 2016, we hope to have added 5 new wholesale clients within Colorado and 5 more in states across the country. We also have a crowdfunding campaign on the horizon for spring 2016 (stay tuned)! 5 year plan is really simple, we want to be a profitable producer of leather goods.