Ever wondered what it takes to run a leather goods brand?
Sales, marketing, customer service, PR, content, social media, finance and accounting, logistics and last but certainly not least: design and craftsmanship.
Most modern leather goods brands that you see coming past on your social media feeds, Google, or on your shopping in the city, have a large scale team for everything. A team in charge of marketing, a team for customer service, a department for finance, PR, design and logistics. But almost all of them have one thing in common: They outsource the craftsmanship and manufacturing of their designs to a third party.
What many people might not know is that at Karu Atelier we are actually just a team of 2. The two of us do everything that needs to be done to keep our small leather goods business running.
So, let us introduce ourselves:
We are two 26 year olds, Daniela from Turku, Finland, and Bart from Utrecht, The Netherlands. We value traditional handcraft, nordic lifestyle, lasting quality and most importantly, sustainable practices. We met on the east coast of Australia in 2012, and have been inseparable ever since.
We are your customer service reps answering your messages and Instagram DMs, even at 11pm on a Sunday night. We are the marketing team that updates our social media channels and creates our Facebook ads. We write all our own content, from this blog post to every single detail on our website. We design our own pieces, and above all, at the heart of our business: we craft every single bag and accessory by hand with a lot of love, patience and attention to detail.
Without you, we wouldn't be able to do what we love. This is why we want to take this time to thank you guys. It is your continued support that allows us to craft and do this for a living. To do this in a sustainable way, to be a brand that wants to be a part of the solution, not the problem. Thank you for being with us every step of the way, and we hope that you will continue to follow us along, as we are planning on doing this for the rest of our lives.
As a thanks, for all of you that have been dying to get your hand on a Karu Atelier bag, we might have a little surprise for you in the coming weeks. ;)
Want to know why we packed up our stuff and moved our atelier to Spain? keep on reading...
In 2018, both not studying anymore, working 30-40 hours a week to pay the bills, and still running Karu Atelier on the side, we noticed that our brand, which meant so much to us, was stalling a little bit. With our jobs taking up most of our time, we were not able to make Karu Atelier grow the way we wanted.
We were stuck in a bit of a paradox: on one side, we could only grow by spending more time on it, which would mean quitting our day jobs and work full time on the brand we both loved.
On the other hand, Karu was not big enough to put food on our table and keep a roof over our heads. What we did know was that this is what we loved doing, and what we saw for our future, and so after a few weeks of debating, the decision was made.
We scraped together all our savings, belongings, tools and leather, bought plane tickets and moved to Spain, to a city neither of us had ever been to before. Valencia.
All we knew was that it was by the ocean, it was sunny for most of the year, and the people were friendly. Above all, we knew no one there, so we would be able to fully concentrate on the thing we wanted to be doing: Making high quality leather goods that last a life-time, without compromising on sustainability.
That was about 6 months ago now. I am not going to lie, it has been hard. Sometimes, in a slow month there is crying and frustration, not knowing how we are going to make it to the next month, as with any entrepreneur bootstrapping it. The next month it picks up, and we are feeling on top of the world, because everything is working out just right, only to have the following month be really slow again. Ups and downs as they say.
With your support, we can continue to do what we love and make products for that you can cherish forever.
Thank you for reading.