We had identified a gap in the our market for high quality functional leather products in beautiful bright colours and buttery soft leather. It took several years to find a leatherworker to produce our designs in the leather and quality we required. Following this, we launched our new label Dusky Robin alongside Henk Berg at Life Instyle in Melbourne in 2017. Exhibiting at Life Instyle was one of the best decisions we made. It enabled us to test our product through direct feedback with our new customers. We were overwhelmed by the response! Since our first show, we have rapidly grown.
My biggest fear was failure and taking the risk of leaving a job that I really loved and that had the safety of a guaranteed good income.
Tell us a bit about how you design/make your product. Who/where/how/why etc.
The first part of the design process is functionality. We identify how the product should function (how, when and why would you use it). Following this, we then think about the aesthetic and start thinking about leather colour, fittings and lining. Our design sketches and prototypes are then turned into reality through a sampling process which often requires many versions to get it exactly right. We work side by side for each step with our makers who are a family-owned business in India, this means a lot of travel and amazing food! As we are a small family business we prefer to work with small scale craftspeople, often family-owned business just like ours.
Describe your customers and the community you have built/embraced.
Our customers vary from small family-owned businesses just like us to large international stores. We love attending Life Instyle and each year learning more about our customers and their story.
Why is it that you think your customers love about your brand/product?
Our customers often comment on the design and quality aspect of Dusky Robin Leather. They also love that we are a small Australian business. Old fashioned great customer service is at the core of our business. Our customers love that you can always speak to the owner of the business anytime.
How do you/your team stay inspired and authentic?
Being a small family-owned business it is easy to stay authentic to our purpose.We are inspired every day by our staff, customers and their feedback. We are also inspired by nature which has the most amazing structure and colour to work with. This means we can be inspired in all sorts of crazy environments.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
I would love to collaborate with Barbie Kjar, an amazing Tasmanian printmaker, who creates spectacular drypoint etchings.