Crafted exclusively by hand

At Red Bike Leatherworks I create charming, timeless leather pieces by hand, stitch by stitch. 

I select the quality vegetable tanned leather and use traditional techniques to produce luxury bags, belts and accessories.

Handcrafted in small numbers, the products are built to last and only get better with use.

A family affair

I am Jess Laird, founder of Red Bike Leatherworks and a second generation leatherworker. My mum was a saddler, making and fixing equestrian items from her workshop at home. 

As a disinterested teenager, little did I think that 20 years on, with a set of hand-me-down tools and some offcuts of leather, I would open Red Bike Leatherworks!

 

Very little has changed. I use the same techniques, tools and materials that my mother used; I have simply swapped saddles for handbags!

 

Made to order

RBL pieces are investments to complement your lifestyle, promoting slow fashion and boosting traditional crafts.

Working together with you, I will ensure that your item fits your lifestyle and, with a range of personalisation options, I am certain you will find the ideal product for you.

The process

Once a product is chosen, the pattern is cut by hand, branded, personalised and fixtures and fittings are attached before the sewing begins.

I only use hand stitching, using two needles and waxed thread to produce strength that no machine stitching could match. Stitch placements are marked with a pricking iron and each hole is created using a sharp diamond awl. Simply including one standard zip adds an extra 350 holes to individually punch and stitch!

Lastly, the edges are levelled, bevelled and burnished to give them strength and a satisfying shine.

Every product is made in this way - slowly, carefully and precisely - to give a beautiful finish.

The leather

Leather is a beautiful, durable material that comes in many guises. On the high street, we tend to see quick fix, chrome tanned leather, where chemicals have been used to transform it into a workable material.

 

The leather used at Red Bike Leatherworks is full grain and vegetable tanned. This means that the hides have been processed slowly and gently, using only vegetable matter such as tannins from bark and other plant matter. The natural fibres are intact, which is what gives RBL items such a rich smell and feel! 

 

The fact that vegetable tanned leather continues to absorb water and oils means that your item will change colour over time, developing a beautiful patina with wear.