Titan Leathercraft is a small family business, originally based near Bromley in Kent but now based on the beautiful South Coast of England.
We have come a long way in the six years since we started, and we thought we would share our journey with you below.
We share a love of traditional crafts, medieval products and an interest in history - particularly English history, and had a particular attraction to goods made of leather.
Through our hobbies we started making some very simple leather goods for ourselves and quickly got hooked on the process. Working with leather is amazing, it’s a medium with almost limitless possibilities and can be a hugely satisfying craft (eventually).
Initially we bought plain leather journals from a family we met in Rajasthan and began carving designs and dying the leather to create interesting new finishes. Friends and family soon started asking us to personalise journals or make custom covers for them.
Largely self-taught, we spent a number of years practicing and learning all we could from feedback we received from the very few leather tooling practitioners in the UK, and getting advice from other leather crafters from around the world.
In July 2013 we opened our first shop in the wonderful village of Burley. It is an amazing village in the heart of the New Forest where the local animals have right of way and wander past the shop from time to time. There's lots going on here and the welcome from both locals and those visiting the forest has been exceptional.
We had a small workshop in the Burley store where one of us could make a limited range of leather goods on-site, and it was great to be able to share what we do with an audience that was always keen to watch and help with suggestions for designs and colours.
In May of 2016 we moved the workshop to our new, significantly larger, shop and studio on Poole Quay. We still have the shop in Burley which stocks a range of the goods we make in the studio as well a range of other handmade leather goods, but the move to Poole has allowed us to expand and offer a much wider range of goods.
The workshop in the Poole store is large enough for us to have expanded our crew and since opening we have had a full time qualified leather crafter join us and we have also taken on two apprentices. The new workshop is still open to the public and we love to have people watch and ask about our craft.
The whole team shares a passion for making high quality goods from the best materials and using traditional skills. All four of our leather crafters have very different styles and allows us to bring a superb diverse range to our hand-crafted goods.
We’ve included below the profiles of our leather crafters.
In addition to the goods we make in store we have prided ourselves on finding other craftspeople and small family firms around the world who share our passions for quality handmade goods, and in partnership with them, we have been able to bring together a wide range of unusual goods in our store – many of which are exclusive to us at Titan Leathercraft.
Whilst we hope you enjoy looking through everything on the website we also hope to see you in one of the stores too – you just can’t beat the smell of cut leather, and high quality leather is such a tactile experience.
Rachael – Lead Leather Crafter
Rachael is the founder of Titan Leathercraft (together with her husband Andy who runs the shops and coffee lounge). Rachael now heads up the leather crafting team.
Rachael has been making leather goods now for almost eight years and particularly enjoys carving floral and oak leaf designs.
Robbie – Senior Leather Crafter
My journey in leather crafting began almost 45 years ago as a child in South Africa as a way of making myself some pocket money. After a while figuring out how to use all of the tools I quickly started to sell my work to friends and neighbours and it took off from there.
I moved to the UK in March of 2015 initially working in maintenance before hearing about Andy and Rachael’s plans to expand their leather crafting business, and took the opportunity to get back to doing what I love – joining them as they opened the workshop in Poole.
What I love most about working with leather is the practical aspect of having clients come in with a project and figuring out how it will work from scratch. Constructing something that works for the client in really good quality leather that will last them for many years to come.
Naomi – Senior Leather crafting Apprentice
I studied A level Fine art, Ceramics and Photography at Brockenhurst College, which lead her to her BA in Contemporary Craft at Plymouth College of Art, Graduating with a 2:1 in 2014. In June 2015 Naomi joined Titan Leather Craft in Burley, New Forest, and the rest is history!
Naomi’s aim is for the customer to develop a relationship with their handcrafted item, to know its origin, context and narrative. The intention of her work is to grasp people’s attention, to allow them to stop for a moment and to think, to question and to inspire.
What she enjoys most about leather is the time spent creating something from start to finish, and the dyeing process. Naomi’s aspirations are to continue her journey of being a craftswoman in a modern world.
Amber – Junior Leather crafting Apprentice
The Abbreviated Story of my life so far...
I was born in St Maarten in the Caribbean as my parents were cruising the West Indies at the time, and spent the first couple of years of my life on a yacht. My sibling and I got used to asking what country we were in...
Sometime later we found ourselves back in the Mediterranean being home-schooled for a time.
The first time I had seen leather being used in its original form was when I was crewing (aboard SV Lady of Avenel), in the use of traditional rigging.
I started work at Titan Leathercraft in June a month after they opened in Poole quay. After spending three months working on the shop floor getting to know customers and products I started doing three days a week in the workshop. I have been busy learning the basic skills and making keyrings, bookmarks and key fobs. In April I join the workshop on a full time basis and am really looking forward to learning new skills and making a wider range of products.
The team of leather crafters we have at TLC brings a great diversity to what we can produce. With Robbie bringing his history of leather construction and practical approach, Rachael sharing her skill in leather tooling, Naomi adding new colours and design from her background in art and design along with Ambers new fresh approach it means that the team can work collaboratively as well as individually.
For those with an interest in leather, we have produced a short leather guide here