Kraków man becomes leather goods sensation and sets up own brand after being unable to find ideal laptop bag
A self-taught bag maker who started stitching his own leather goods after being unable to find a suitable laptop bag has become a ‘leather-making’ sensation after being flooded with orders.
Audit specialist Tomasz Kolowca from Kraków set up his ‘Tomasz Kolowca Leathercraft’ brand after being shocked by the high prices of laptop bags and unhappy with their quality.
Teaching himself by watching instruction videos on the internet in his kitchen after work, Kolowca soon found he had mastered the art of leather-making when his first bag was snapped up just 30 minutes after posting it online.
He told TFN: “Most of the things I make are designed for other people. I rarely keep the things I make.
“Often they are bought even before I’ve finished them. I couldn’t feasibly make leather goods making into a full time job because of the time it takes me to make one item, and I would never want to move to machines.
Moving his workshop from his kitchen to the attic, each element of the goods is done by hand, including punching holes in the leather.
Starting with a pencil and notebook, he first sketches his designs before transporting them onto graphics software, printing them and transferring them onto the leather.
Describing leather as a ‘precious material’ on his official Facebook page, Kolowca only uses natural leathers in the production of his products, which range from bags, wallets, belts, rucksacks and even shoes, but the most frequent item he makes are women’s handbags.
He said: “I feel like I’m constantly learning. No design I’ve made has been repeated, each is unique and I am constantly coming up against things I’ve never done before such as a new stitching.”
Regarding his dream laptop bag, he still hasn’t made it. He said: “I’m starting to understand the well-known Polish saying ‘a cobbler walks without shoes’ (Eng: The cobbler’s children have no shoes).
“And the more I learn about the craft the more that dream design keeps changing in my head, in fact I’m not sure the perfect design for a laptop bag exists.”
Though he hasn’t quite thrown in the day job just yet and has no intention to make a full-time living from his hobby, Kolowca regularly sows by night in his attic workshop which has now been up and running for two years and has attracted a substantial number of fans.
He said: “I simply enjoy what I do and spend a lot of my free time doing it. It’s a hobby that doesn’t require a lot of space so anyone can do it in their house.”