Mulberry Loves Craft campaign inspires leather fans to create bracelets of their own
IN 1971, Somerset boy Roger Saul received £500 on his birthday, and decided that he would use it to start a company named after a tree that he walked by every day on the way to school. That tree was a Mulberry. More than four decades on, Mulberry has become synonymous with English luxury, and the company has become famed for its exquisitely crafted leather goods — belts, chokers, accessories, and most popular of all, women’s handbags.
At the heart of Mulberry is its undeniable “Britishness”, otherwise known as “Le Style Anglais”. It was a style modelled after the epitome of British character: staid, unyielding, understated and with relaxed confidence. In line with the company’s principles, Mulberry’s factory is still located in Saul’s hometown of Somerset, and all of Mulberry’s prized leather goods are still made to the highest standards, combining beauty and practicality.
Today, Mulberry is the largest manufacturer of luxury leather goods in the UK; with all its 700 craftsmen and women hailing from the surrounding areas of Somerset. The brand’s signature is its use of beautiful, natural leather that ages gracefully over time, developing a personality that makes each Mulberry bag unique to its owner. Over the years, Mulberry’s leather goods have made a name for themselves — they are embellished with postman’s locks, braided leather, fobs and buckles on signature bags that have stood the test of time.
Mulberry prides itself on the sturdiness of its handbags. They are long-lasting, not in the least bit fragile, and appeal greatly to those who fully utilise their bags instead of keeping them safe where they will retain their pristine appearance.
In an effort to give back and to personalise each client’s experience with the brand, in August 2014, Mulberry made an appearance at the Wildnerness Festival in Oxfordshire, UK, and hosted the very first “Mulberry Loves Craft” event. Intended to teach people from all walks of life the basics of leather-making, the event saw festival-goers speaking to Mulberry craftsmen to learn more about the trade, and also have a go at customising and monogramming their own leather bracelets in an array of vibrant colours.
The Oxfordshire Mulberry Loves Craft event was such a success that the company has taken it global and last week, they brought it to Pavilion, KL in conjunction with the Pavilion Pitstop week. Over the weekend, hundreds of shoppers and Mulberry lovers stopped by their store to try their hand at crafting leather. Armed with a selection of lovely leather bracelets coloured in pheasant green, flame, petrol blue, chocolate and oak as well as hammers and metal engravers, everyone walked away happily with their very own hand-made, customised bracelets.
Although these Mulberry bracelets looked simple and easy enough to make, the truth was that it was actually rather difficult to get the various letters, numbers and shapes lined absolutely straight and stamped deep enough. Luckily, Mulberry provided an endless supply of “trial” square leather pieces for people to try on before trying to stamp on the real thing.
The thought of the word “leather” usually leads us to conjuring the thought of a strong, chemical scent but there is no trace of anything pungent or chemical on any of the pieces of leather that Mulberry handed out to us. In addition, the leather is just the right mix of firm and soft, although the button design made it rather difficult to put on without any help.
As consumers, we are far removed from the hand-crafting process that our bags, accessories, wallets, belts and clothes go through before being displayed at the shelves, so it was a rather enlightening experience to try out the tools that craftsmen use on a daily basis. We rarely think of the care and intricate details that are put into the things we buy off the shelves; and the Mulberry Loves Craft event not only teaches us a set of basic skills on making leather bracelets, it also brings to the forefront the sheer amount of effort and talent the craftsmen and women pour into making the products that we utilise and love so dearly.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 7, 2015.