Happiness is owning a beautiful leather handbag that’s been handmade in Gansbaai. Leanda Trautman taught herself to sew, bought an industrial sewing machine and started Happiness Handbags from their farm in Gansbaai. She tells us her inspiring little tale.
Where are you from?
What can I tell you… I’m originally from Houtbay, about 2 years ago my husband and I moved from Cape Town to Gansbaai. Gansbaai is a very small fisherman’s village 40min drive from Hermanus and there isn’t much work around here. I studied Industrial Design at Cape Tech because I love working with my hands as well as with natural materials. I’ve always been one for a challenge, and so, with a love for leather, I made the craziest decision to make leather handbags. And so in October 09 I bought my first industrial sewing machine.
How did you get started?
As I mentioned I didn’t have any sewing skills, so patience was key… I started at home just pushing through long pieces of material, and soon after that I made my first bag called the Peace Bag. Over the years the collection has grown to over 10 styles and has expanded to bags, brooches, belts, dog collars and so many more ideas. Two years later my product was perfected and I moved into my own studio on our family farm just outside Gansbaai… very peaceful and a lot of space!
Where can we buy your bags?
Unfortunately I don’t sell my handbags anywhere currently, as I work on an order basis, this just gives people the freedom to ‘create’ their own bag. They get to chose their style, leather colour, 100% floral cotton inner, and additional decoration. I work alone so my stock never gets time to grow, and the ones that I have just end up in my studio cupboards. I’m also busy creating a website for Happiness, which would be live by the beginning of next year, very excited about that!
Any advice for artisans starting their own lines?
If I could give advice to fellow artisans, that would be to believe in your product, love your product and to remember patience is very important. Your own business takes a lot of time and energy, but once you see someone walking around with your product, loving it, that’s when all that hard work pays off!!
Have a look at the Happiness Handbags Facebook page for more info.