Sizhfleür custom design
Tell us about your business.Being a photography buff I love to carry my DSLR camera, 3-4 lenses, flash, chargers and other smaller items when I go on vacations. The problem - I couldn't find a bag big enough to fit my items. The few shoulder bags that were available could hold no more than 1-2 smaller lenses and were boxy. So I decided to handcraft a bag on my own and infuse it with style! All my leather bags are hand-cut and handmade by me. I enjoy the design process that makes every bag unique. My creative process involves long discussions with the customer. Folks have also asked me to design other custom bags form them including doctor's bags, bartender bags, special ballistic nylon bag that is water and pressure tight, satchels, briefcases and several others. I am also honored to be recently featured in a commercial for Victorinox Swiss Army watches "Inspired By Authenticity" as a leather worker. (I am at 0:17 and 0:26 seconds) Please see the video below.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.When I am working on a project, my workshops floor is strewn with leather hide pieces! not the tidiest but definitely has a flow. I also have a bunch of rolled leather hides piled on a shelf and under my work tables. My worktables have been built by me in some shape or form and I make it a point to rearrange them on a regular basis, keeps it fresh. I like to decorate the wall with family pics apart from orders and deadlines. And yes I do recycle leather pieces that are left over into bags made from patches!
What inspires you?Anything antique inspires me, it may be a Royal typewriter from the 1900's or a line-berry cart from around the same era. The patina and rust on old railway cart castors and industrial pulleys seem to be reaching out to me, telling their story. My designs reflect the feel of antiquity of objects that I love researching online. I routinely take time out from my projects to do a project of my own, another bag, that is a product of my imagination and fantasy....like the one I made incorporating army parachute buckles that weigh almost a pound each or the one that employs diving suit zippers to make it water and pressure proof.
What makes your business stand out?My bags are made based on customer specs making each one unique, I take risks in designing by "making it happen" for the customer by using creative methods. I also love product photography and being creative doing so. One of my product photo shoots was in the X-ray room of a hospital where I requested a friend to take X-ray images of antique camera equipment to be used in my product photos.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Follow your passion and remember that the path to success will come with failures that are necessary. Its equally important to balance work and life!
What does American Made mean to you?Creating a unique product with locally purchased materials. My designs are handmade by me, truly American made in every sense and all my supplies are purchased from American suppliers. This is what helps me make a unique product and maintain higher quality.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 9, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
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Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
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