Jas­mine Carey stitches leather to­gether

Com­pe­ti­tion win­nings have made it pos­si­ble for tal­ented Jas­mine Carey to ex­pand her Dept­ford leather de­sign and man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany

The Wharf - - Canary Wharf - Jon Massey Go to deco22.co.uk or cock­pi­tarts.com for more in­for­ma­tion

What sits at the heart of a Venn di­a­gram fea­tur­ing the Wor­ship­ful Com­pany of Leathersellers, so­cial en­ter­prise stu­dio space provider Cock­pit Arts in Dept­ford and the ninth largest tech­nol­ogy com­pany in the world?

The an­swer, it seems, is leather worker and de­signer Jas­mine Carey.

Hav­ing won an award sponsored by the liv­ery com­pany to help fund a year of stu­dio space at the south east Lon­don char­ity, 2018 de­liv­ered some more good news for the se­rial cre­ative.

She said: “I en­tered a com­pe­ti­tion with Huawei (the world’s sec­ond largest man­u­fac­turer of smart­phones) as part of its Make It Pos­si­ble cam­paign.

“A cou­ple of weeks ago I got a call say­ing I was the run­ner up for the prize and had won £5,000 to go to­wards my busi­ness and the things that I want to do.”

The Chi­nese firm had asked peo­ple to sub­mit 500 words on how they would fol­low their dreams in 2018 in a bid to win part of a £30,000 fund.

The com­pe­ti­tion was set up in re­sponse to a study that sug­gested 57% of peo­ple saw fi­nan­cial bar­ri­ers to pur­su­ing their am­bi­tions.

One of 800 en­tries, Jas­mine’s was selected as one of three fi­nal­ists to get some of the cash and a Huawei Mate 10 Pro de­vice to help her es­tab­lish leather craft busi­ness Deco 22.

“At the mo­ment I am do­ing lots of dif­fer­ent part-time jobs – I free­lance as a pat­tern cut­ter and I teach, all while try­ing to do the stuff in my stu­dio,” she said.

“This money means I have more time to spend in the stu­dio with­out rush­ing around do­ing all these jobs and more money to put into the busi­ness to keep my shop afloat.

“I started my busi­ness quite a while ago. Orig­i­nally it was a high-end wom­enswear range.

“I re­alised pretty early on I was go­ing down the wrong road and tried readyto-wear stuff that I was sell­ing at Greenwich Mar­ket.

“I re­alised that I had the wrong busi­ness model, took a break and did teacher train­ing.

“I moved to Cock­pit Arts in 2011, the same year I grad­u­ated as a teacher, then I started to re-eval­u­ate what I was do­ing and to fo­cus on higher-end prod­ucts such as coats.

“I’d al­ways made my own bags and it was at that point I started to delve into leather.

“It started to take over – I did lots of cour­ses last year and the year be­fore and then, in 2017 I won the Leathersellers Award. That meant I had an ad­di­tional year with sup­port to build up my busi­ness and do dif­fer­ent cour­ses.

“That gave me a chance to meet other peo­ple work­ing in leather and to in­ter­act with them.”

Jas­mine ex­plained: “This lat­est award is go­ing to help me to pur­sue my leather as­pi­ra­tions

“I want to set up a craft-based busi­ness based on my leather prod­ucts such as bags and oys­ter card hold­ers.

“I’m con­tin­u­ing to ex­per­i­ment and de­velop with more de­signs.”

Jas­mine’s leather prod­ucts start at £39, with prices re­flect­ing the level of work needed to make them.

“The price de­pends on how I’ve made it – the kind of thread and fin­ish you want and whether you want it lined,” she said.

“My bags start at about £350 for the hand-stitched ones. I plan to start do­ing ma­chine stitched ones soon, which will be less as hand stitch­ing a bag takes be­tween 10 and 15 hours to make, some­times even 20.

“It is hard graft but it is en­joy­able. “I get my in­spi­ra­tion from lots of dif­fer­ent places – my ethos and back­ground is one of sim­ple, clean lines which is sim­i­lar to Art Deco.

“I am heav­ily in­flu­enced by that but my de­signs are in­spired by ev­ery­thing around me.

“When I am de­sign­ing things, I am very clear that they need to be quite sim­ple and not overly dec­o­ra­tive.

“It’s try­ing to think about de­sign­ing things that are not just for one sea­son but for many years to come. At the mo­ment, peo­ple can buy my prod­ucts by email­ing me or go­ing to the var­i­ous shows I do.

“Part of the prize I have just won will go to­wards set­ting up a proper web­site.”

Whar­fers can meet Jas­mine and see her prod­ucts at Cock­pit Arts’ sum­mer open stu­dios event, which runs from June 15 to 17, along­side a host of other mak­ers and crafts­peo­ple.

Jas­mine hard at work in her Dept­ford stu­dio

Hand-stitched bags are a labour of love

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