Holdall & Co
It’s difficult to judge how large a company is when you only look at their product. On close inspection a Holdall & Co leather folio gives the impression of a brand with centuries of experience and a design passed down through generations.
The truth couldn’t be more different. Based in Northampstonshire, the company was founded only a few years ago by Raimonda Navickaite. In her early twenties, Rai grew up in East London and, inspired by her collection of vintage leather goods and supported by the Prince’s Trust, she quickly perfected her knowledge of the leather industry and carved a niche in the market.
As she hand-picked each leather hide, we saw first hand her close relationship with suppliers and manufacturers; knowing each on first name terms. She’s managed to step her foot into a male-dominated world to create something uniquely masculine and minimalist.
Rai’s is helped by her willingness, flexibility and ability to see opportunities. She is a perfectionist, only the best will do, so the leather comes from Italy, with all other stages of the process occurring in England. She demands high standards, and will minutely inspect the stitching on her products, explaining as she does the advantages of particular manufacturing methods, to ensure that her leather goods will become treasured heritage belongings well into the future.
Rai, tell us about the business.
We’re a Northamptonshire-based designer and manufacturer of luxury leather accessories handmade in England. Established in the summer of 2012, we launched online with our ‘Holdall Folio’, an under-arm document case made from the highest quality full-grain leather and crafted by highly-skilled case makers. Over the past year we’ve responded to demand and slowly grown our collection to include folios, briefcases, folios and wallets in a range of coloured leathers.
What’s your role in the business?
Apart from our suppliers and the craftsmen we work with, I am a one-woman team and Holdall & Co is me. My jobs change daily from designing, sampling and sourcing materials for new products, to marketing, running and management of the website, photographing new products to inspecting every leather hide before manufacture and delivering them to our craftsmen.
How did you get started?
Holdall & Co started with the desire to design and make products that would stand the test of time. I spent 7 months developing the perfect design; travelling around England, sourcing the best leather and desperately seeking the skilled hands to make a bag to the same standards I enjoyed with vintage pieces I’ve collected over the years.
What are the core values of the business?
Quality and fine details;
Our folios are made for life; designed to withstand the rigours of regular use and to weather the storms of life in style. All of our products are handmade to exacting standards with the pride and perfection that English case makers are renowned for; with hand-sewn lock stitches, heeled corners and burnished edges; all a true mark of craftsmanship. All products are designed with our customers needs in mind, ensuring no detail or function is compromised.
Honest & ethical;
We’re passionate about the work of human hands, so every product is lovingly hand made with traditional techniques using British-made tools. We strive to keep our manufacture both honest and ethical – from fair wages and high quality materials to traditional workmanship.
Based in Northamptonshire we have the luxury of having the best materials and craftsmanship at our doorstep which allows us to keep business local (or within the UK) and know everyone involved face to face.
How important is the UK-made and designed aspect of the product to you?
Before I had even decided on which product we’d manufacture, I knew that whatever it would be had to be made in England, so I searched hard to find traditional case makers with decades of experience who would ensure durability and longevity for the products whilst giving each a unique character.
I love the heritage that British manufacture has worldwide and unfortunately the skills that the country has been renowned for are slowly dying out, so it’s important for me to promote and support them, so that the next generation could enjoy them.
What’s your view of men’s style? Is there anything particularly exciting about this at the moment?
I’ve really enjoyed seeing men’s style slowly evolve over the past 5 years. Your “average” man is taking more pride in his appearance; taking notice of how clothes fit and is investing in key accessories that to complete the outfit, such as shoes, a bag and watch.
Who and where are your main markets? How would you like to see these develop?
Since launching we’ve sold our products worldwide, but our biggest markets to date have been the UK and US, with Australia and Singapore not far behind.
We know that there is big demand for British made products in Asia, so we hope to grow brand awareness there in the next couple of years.
Holdall & Co Ltd