Published on Saturday, 03 August 2013 00:00
27-year-old Jacob Chee peered intently at the leather in his hands as he carefully stitched the pieces together. Jacob’s Leathercraft
is a one man show retailing handmade leather accessories from coin pouches to wallets. Finally, something sold in Singapore that is made in Singapore by a Singaporean.
I had the privilege of seeing him at work, meticulously cutting, sewing and doing other leather crafting stuff that I don’t understand but seem very impressive. Jacob taught himself the art of leathercrafting by watching YouTube videos, getting a few tips from other leathercrafting friends, and experimenting around until he got it down to a flawless skill. Not only does he create these leather goods entirely from scratch with vegetable-tanned leather, he designs his creations as well. Whoever said that Singaporeans have no sense of art and creativity?
You might naturally assume that Jacob was an art student and well versed in sculpturing from raw materials, I know I did. So it came as a shock to me when I learned that he studied Business Admin in SMU, and is currently working in the Banking/Finance industry.
Jacob’s Leathercraft came about one fine day in 2012 when Jacob was racking his brain for a Christmas present for a friend. He decided that a handmade item would seem more sincere and ‘from the heart’, thus he set to work on finding the perfect present he could personally create for his friend. He settled on creating a leather wallet after much research and there his interest for leathercrafting bloomed and took off.
Jacob’s Leathercraft’s products that range from SGD$40 - $60 have been shipped to countries all around the globe. He made his first sale of a wallet to a customer in the United States who had a fine appreciation for handmade leather goods. There is a difference between Jacob’s leather products and mass marketed leather products; while the big corporations mindlessly churn out millions of similar merchandises in hopes of making money, Jacob is doing it as a passion. Jacob puts his heart and soul into creating these labor intensive leather goods; you can bet that every single one of his products is incorporated with his blood, sweat and tears (figuratively of course, not literally).
“For me, in a world of increasing disposability, it is reassuring to know that some things are made to last. My hope is that, with the use of traditional tools and craftsmanship, JLC will be able to handcraft unique leather items that will last a lifetime.” – Jacob Chee
Jacob does not compromise on quality where his goods are concerned. The leather that he uses to construct his exclusive products is imported from Pakistan and Sri Lanka; it is soft and buttery to the touch, but supple and able to withstand the test of time. Couple that with the fact that he pays keen attention to detail for his products with precise cuts, intricate stitches, a whole lot of dedication, and 3 days worth of hard, intensive labor before you can get your hands on one of his handcrafted masterpieces.
Jacob’s Leathercraft is not just limited to the products being sold on Etsy, he takes in customized requests as well if you wish for him to create a different design with specific colors. And for a little bit of personalization, he provides free leather embossing of a maximum of 2 initials for his products.
For a trade that is not very abundant in Singapore, Jacob’s Leathercraft basically has the entire market mostly to itself. With rapidly increasing demand worldwide, I foresee great things to come for Jacob’s Leathercraft.
Check out the video below to watch the making of a card wallet by Jacob, with a special appearance by Coco, the Jack Russell superstar!