I started producing leather goods out of a need that wasn’t met by what I found on the market. I wanted a slim wallet, with a very minimalist design, simple, elegant and with a personal touch. And because I’m not the type to let an idea go, I did my research, found the best suppliers and created my first smallet wallet. The reactions of those around me inspired me to take it to the next level and turn the idea into a business. This was 4 years ago.
Which are the main categories of your products? To what extent they are hand-made? Is there any automatic process involved?
We produce small leather goods ranging from wallets, bracelets, key holders, notebooks and on demand we create custom products such as leather toolkit for florists or hairdressers, leather covers for keyless cars, beer holder for bicycles to name just a few. We are currently extending our portfolio to include leather bags and other accessories.
Our added value, apart from the design and quality materials, is that we can customize each and every product by using embossing or embroidery.
At the beginning all the production was handmade and homemade. Now, we have certain parts of the production process which can be done by using different machines for cutting, embossing, embroidery. This enables us to create volumes. However, we continue to keep certain processes handmade.
Also, we are now starting a new collection – Smallet Home, where we combine wood, metal and leather to create timeless pieces of furniture.
When it comes to luxury accessories, more and more often in the past years, luxury is often defined by simplicity, ultimate craftsmanship and finest quality of materials. Tell us about your views?
Simplicity, quality materials and attention to detail are at the core of our products. This is how we set off and what we want to be defined by.
Your business is inherently dependant on craftsmanship. Considering that nowadays schools of crafts are very rare, some speciality jobs even becoming extinct. What has been your approach?
In Romania, as well, there are very few schools of crafts. I, for one, have learned the craft through self study and by finding the right mentors. I worked temporarily in a leather factory where I learned the ropes from experienced employees. Also, I attended leather design classes. I pass on the know-how i gained to my employees. But, more importantly, I have the chance to learn every day by trial and error until I get the result I want.
Where do you source your leather? Would you also consider using exotic leathers?
We have several suppliers here in Romania that import the leather from Italy, mainly.
Are your able to custom-made or bespoke pieces of sizes and designs required by the client?
Yes, apart from the designs in our portfolio, a great part of our work is creating tailor made leather products. It challenges us to find the best solutions to meet the client’s demands and also inspires us to create new designs.
Do you also sell your products under your own brand? Do you have plans to expand your own line? To what extent your customers prefer to touch and fell your product before making an acquisition?
Yes, at the moment most of the products we create are sold under the Smallet brand. We are constantly looking to extend our line of products and we test each new design with our customer base.
We have two types of customers. on the one hand, there are those who want to feel the leather and see the available colours. They can visit our partner stores or even come to our workshop. On the other hand, the majority of our customers order online, through our website. These are the customers who’s lifestyle revolve around being very active and time effective. They always have the option of returning the products if they don’t meet their expectations, but we haven’t had that happen in the 4 years we’ve been around.
Tell us more about the profile of your customers?
Due to the fact that we create products with a very minimal design and personal touch, our customer base is made mostly of people with a very active lifestyle, people who seek quality over quantity, who don’t care about showing off, but who do stand out from the crowd. The age range is somewhere between 20-40 years.
Do you have plans to expand your range to other accessories such as shoes or handbags? ex – hunting, horse-riding, home-wear, watch straps and belts
We are constantly looking to create new products and enter new market segments. We don’t plan on entering the shoe market as it requires a different technology and skillset but we are quite interested in reaching niche segments such as golf, cycling, horse rinding, hunting, flower shops to name a few. For these categories of clients we can create personalised leather goods.
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