From the West End to her studio in Surrey, the career path of Paula, founder of Pippin Scott Leather Works has been as theatrical as it has been creative; a journey that has led her to become a leather specialist, culminating in beautiful bags and accessories, that are as colourful as they are sustainable.
From costume making and footwear designing, to learning how to hand-stitch leather, Paula’s talent and eye for detail is clear to see in her collection of bags and accessories.
Crafting each design by hand, using traditional leather techniques, Paula is inspired by nature and its array of vibrant, fun colours, to lift your spirits in even the dreariest of seasons.
There’s a certain pride wearing a bag from Paula, using craftsmanship that is centuries old, every design comes with a bespoke beauty and longevity that cannot be replicated by machine. Best of all, you can customise your own design by choosing your favourite colour and details for the exterior, interior and clasps.. Every design is made to order, and the anticipation awaiting to receive your item is made all the sweeter knowing it’s hand designed and completely personalised.
Best sellers in Paula’s collection include the Betty Rucksack and Wanderer bags, both of which look stylish – perfect additions to your seasonal wardrobe.
Running a small business has its challenges, what do you enjoy most about running your business?
I think for most creatives it is the joy of taking what is in your mind and making it a reality, a physical item that others can appreciate, admire, and use. I love to problem solve – how can a design be both beautiful and practical?
For me, it was important that my customers are involved in the customisation of their bag, choosing their own colourways and tweaking details. Being able to offer a fantastic colour palette was a big part of my business plan.
It is hard to take your products (your heart and soul) to shows and see people’s reactions, but overall, I am met with wonderful comments. The camaraderie amongst other exhibitors at the shows is the best part of running your own business, they become family.
How do you approach sustainability?
I carefully source my leather, ensuring they are all made from a by-product of the meat industry, and that the animals are kept to a high standard within EU regulations, this is incredibly important to me.
I use Italian and British vegetable tanned leathers, which is an ancient process that is gentler on the leather and the environment, using tannins of a vegetable origin to meticulously show of the leather’s natural beauty. Dipping the hides in barks, minerals and other natural elements can take months, and as with all things that are hand crafted, they are intrinsically higher value.
I choose to hand stitch instead of using sewing machines, using a craft that is centuries old. Hand stitching is accurate, consistent, decorative, and robust but unlike machine stitching, it is time consuming. I also use high quality waxed polyester braided thread which offers strength that is second to none.
I am excited to take time in the new year to explore new bag designs and patterning techniques. I am also working on some unique pieces decorated with gold tooling (using real gold leaf) and collaborating with a woodworker friend to create beautiful, unique wooden handles.
I am also studying the art of laser cutting and hope to include this in my new body of work by the end of next year; and hoping to offer some one-on-one tutorials for those keen to work with leather, so watch this space!
See Pippin Scott Leather Works’ Little Green Book profile here
Pippin Scott Leather Works