We had the opportunity to sit down with Stacey Peric, founder of Kind Sir Leatherware, and chat all things life, leather and craftsmanship.
Leather Accessories & Keepsakes
Interview with Stacey Peric, Founder.
Interview by Brad Hooker.
Read Time: 15 minutes
Hi Stacey, what are you doing right now?
I’ve come down to our local marina to do the interview while Mark does bath time. I’m sitting in the car with the crazy rain pelting, staring at the beautiful boats.
What have you been doing today?
Our family popped to the museum to see the Sea Monsters Exhibition. Brisbane has such a great museum and who doesn’t love a train/bus adventure on the school holidays?
This is my first time doing one of these interviews, so thank you for diving headfirst in with me for this. To start off, can you tell us a little about your brand, KIND.SIR?
We make handcrafted, leather accessories and keepsakes, and at the core of our brand is human connection. For us, it’s all about helping to connect people on a deeper level through gift-giving.
And the name KIND.SIR, how did that come about?
It all stems from a longing to bring back the art of gift giving. Bringing back good manners, old school etiquette, a handwritten note; little things like this that make a big impact. So many of these things are lost and we want to bring them back into focus. Gift giving can be simple if you take the time to pause and ask a few questions about the giftee; what do they like, what are their favourite colours, what’s their favourite saying, do they love to travel, what do they use in their every day and what would make their day?
That’s so cool that you’re created a brand centred around generosity. What do you think it is about gift-giving that is so special?
When you give a gift, you’re thinking solely about the person you are going to give the present to. Whether it’s for a birthday or for a little pick-me-up for someone doing it tough, or someone simply just popped into your head, the first thing you do is think about that person and your relationship with them and what you could do to make their life better in some small way.
From there, you are considering that relationship in a deeper way and decide, “Oh I’m going to give that person a card, or a phone call, or a personalised keyring.” The real magic happens when someone receives something that has been especially made for them. The look on their face is priceless when they realise it has their initials or their favourite saying on it, or it’s in that tan leather they love so much.
Our world needs more selfless people right now, people that are thinking about what their actions can do to affect other people’s lives. Would you agree?
Absolutely. I’m a big believer that if someone springs to mind during our day, we should send that little hello text or pick up the phone. Human connection, always. Sometimes when I’m reading an article, hear a song or see a photograph that reminds me of someone, I’ll just take a quick moment to pop it through to them. We need to let each other know we are thinking of them. You just don’t know how much that could mean at that very moment.
I’ll tell you what sucks, getting a gift from someone you like to think you know really well and when you open it you’re like ‘Do you even know me?.
Oh, haha, totally. I will say this though, not everyone is easy to buy for. Some people are harder to pick gifts for. And some people are just great gift-givers and ace it every single time.
One fail-safe method I think isn’t utilised enough in gift giving is asking friends/family of the person you want to give the gift to. They might have some inside info on what they’re currently into or even a saying/inspirational quote that’s resonating with them that can be used to stamp into a leather piece. This method is guaranteed to cure the bad gift jitters every time. We have a free Gift Experience Consultation service for anyone struggling to find the right thing or need a few fresh ideas.
So brilliant and so simple. Would you say that KIND.SIR products are purchased more frequently as a gift than purchased for customer’s own personal use?
Without a doubt. And we love it.
That is so cool, to think your craft is centred around generosity and human connection. In this day and age, why do you think human connection is so important for brands?
It’s important because of what technology and fast-paced living is doing to human connection. We have our heads in front of screens all day meaning we don’t notice as much. We’re looking down more than up. We miss the little things. We’re doing more conversation via text, in emails, and that means we’re not engaging with faces as much. It’s a powerful thing to engage face to face; to read someone’s eyes or notice their emotions.
We have to be so protective of our face-to-face connections especially with face masks and social distancing guidelines putting more barriers between us than ever before. So more than ever, connecting with not only our customers but encouraging them to connect with their community is vital to remind people we are human and we are part of a thriving community of other beautiful people.
Love it. Swinging things back towards the brand specifically, can you tell us about the early days of KIND.SIR? When did you launch the first range, where were you living, what did you offer?
It was 2015, and my husband and I were living in the chilly Macedon Ranges outside Melbourne. The KS range started with personalised luggage tags and a slimline wallet and from there we created a small range of bespoke pieces. Mark (Husband) used to tinker around with leather making his own slimline wallets because he could never find one that he loved. We’ve always loved the feel and look of leather and so it was only right we started to work with this beautiful medium.
Are all of your products made bespoke? All made to order?
Yes, they are. It’s important for us to be mindful of waste, and do the best we can to keep our business model simple. Making everything to order means we don’t need a large space to operate and can keep stock levels to an absolute minimum.
Being made to order means we can offer a bespoke service to customers too. The sky’s the limit to the designs we can create and one-of-a-kind pieces we craft. We work together with our customers to create something that has the KS stamp as well as their heart and soul. That’s really important to us.
Does the human connection element come into the process when making these one-off pieces? Do you and Mark find joy knowing that you are actually handcrafting each piece with the purchaser, but ultimately the end recipient in mind?
Yeah, absolutely. Quite often when I am stitching something together, I’ll have music on in the background and I’ll slip in a handwritten note to go with the gift saying ‘This is the soundtrack that your piece was created to.’
It truly is a process of slowing down. Sometimes that can be frustrating when you have a large backlog of orders and you are stitching with blisters on your fingers, but it’s ultimately about making something special for another person.
Let’s talk about the slow down. Do you find that the methodical dedication to craft and refining your techniques help improve your general outlook on life?
Yes. When I’m sitting there working on a project, it forces me to be present. I can’t be stitching a wallet and making dinner at the same time, I have to be focused on the task at hand.
In this day and age, most of us feel like we have a million tabs open in our brain and we are doing a thousand things at any given moment, so to stop, slow down, be present and focus on those individual stitches, helps me catch my breath and it acts as a form of meditation for me. It takes time. Something that is a luxury in these times. Focus and time.
For sure. At Stone Studio, we like to celebrate an individual’s dedication to craftsmanship, what do you think is so special about the idea behind timeless maker crafts?
Well, I think for one, what makers are doing is trying to keep lost trades alive. We are aiming to keep the history of timeless techniques alive whilst injecting modern ways of crafting into the process. We are always learning and refining our skills. Always moving and changing.
The handmade element is very special to me. Knowing something was crafted by another human is amazing. That’s what I love about the workshops at Stone Studio; you sit, focus, work with your hands and come away with a unique item you made yourself. It’s imperfect with bumps, fingerprints and has a life of its own. It’s a very grounding experience to mould the clay and share the experience with others while you do so. Not a phone to be seen. It’s glorious.
Now tell me, you are a family-owned and operated outfit with two gorgeous kids, how do you go with the work-life balance?
It’s definitely not easy, but the pay-offs and freedom of being able to do simple things like the school drop off/ pick up and be fluid with our lifestyle is amazing. We love being able to be there for our kids when they need us. It doesn’t happen all the time but we make a point of when we are with the kids, we are with the kids and try to stick to dedicated times for emails or making as needed, rather than being pulled in all the different directions. Tricky at times!
Mark and I have figured out a schedule that allows us to both come in and out of work/kids all the time. So depending on what the day or order list looks like we will share the various tasks across both areas of our life. It’s always an ebb and flow/roller coaster situation, but we love it and feel very grateful to have the lifestyle we have.
Can you shed some light on your creative process? Where do you draw inspiration from for the future spark and evolution of KIND.SIR?
Most of our inspiration comes from nature. I am obsessed with texture.
If I see a tree trunk with a whole swag of moss on it, I actually feel my heart rate lift. It’s real. I’ll think about it all day long.
Lately, anything to do with boats has been capturing my attention, especially vintage pieces; sea journals, old anchors, pulleys, maritime manuals, vintage wooden yachts, cleats... I’m like WOW. If I got married again, I might just marry a rope. Haha.
While researching for this chat I was looking through your Instagram, I noticed a strong nautical theme coming through in brand content. Do you get to spend much time on the water?
Yes, we do, however, never enough, haha. In January, we spent six nights on a catamaran sailing The Whitsundays, exploring the islands and enjoying having nowhere to be but on that yacht.
What is it about the sea that you love?
I love the freedom of not being tied to anything. The fact that you can look out and all you see is the horizon, the water, the mountains. It’s like you are out there alone, just you and the deep blue sea. And the peace, the peacefulness that comes from looking at the sea, looking up at the mast into the dark night sky. Even in the surf, with waves crashing towards you, there is a stillness and peace that comes from being in the ocean.
Any dream achievements that have happened for KIND.SIR over the last few months? Projects that you are proud of and how they came about?
Yes! We are working on a project for The Calile Hotel in Brisbane. Pinch me moment.
I was there one evening with my Mum chatting casually with one of the great gals on reception. Our conversation inspired me to create a Custom Accessory Suite of products I thought could enhance the guest experience at the hotel so I made some prototypes, photographed them and sent them off. Within 24 hours, we were discussing a partnership together. It was all super organic and I am so pleased to be working with such an iconic Brisbane landmark.
Can you tell us a little bit about the future of Kind Sir?
We’re currently creating more pieces specifically for the home. Rather than just personal use items, we are exploring items to bring calm and encourage connection in homes. Always with a focus on gift giving of course.
Our recently released Como Coasters are the perfect housewarming, wedding or thank you gift. Crafted from luxurious, raw hide these keepsake coasters patina over time and develop a richness of character, telling a story of memories made.
How did the partnership with Stone Studio come about?
We have been life-long friends with Brad and Jen and we really respect and are completely inspired by what they are doing with the Studio. Jen contacted us and asked if we were open to doing a workshop in the studio and it was an undeniable yes from us. We can’t wait to share our love of leather and dedication to craft with the Stone Studio community.
Join us next Saturday, April 24th for our very first Meet the Maker workshop with Stacey, as she teaches us the art of hand cutting, stamping, and sewing leather.
Next Saturday, April 24th from 2:30-4:30
We hope to see you there x