Hunter Pass Leather Goods is the collaborative effort of Portland, Oregon-based sisters Carlee and Aubree Ng, who found themselves experimenting with belt-making and bag-making after they inherited a set of antique leather-making tools from their uncle. Their hobby quickly grew into a thriving, small company — which eventually brought them to Kickstarter, as they seek to expand their upcoming line. We chatted with them briefly about the business of leather-making and project building.
1. Was making your project video:
E. OH GOD. I CAN'T WATCH IT. I JUST. NO.
F. ALL OF THE ABOVE
A: D-Hilarious. Definitely. When we started making the video, we thought it would be easier to read from a script. We each had our parts and we would try to go back and forth from what we wrote down. At one point our friend Marika, who was filming for us, said to me "That's great Aubree, but if you can try to appear a little less...terrified as Carly is speaking, that would be great! You know, smile or something!" We did a million takes and would burst into laughter at each one. So, overall it was a fun process but there's definitely a reason we did voice-overs.
Care to give a little pep talk for people currently procrastinating making their project videos?
Making the video is more approachable than you might think. If you get your friends involved, it can be a really fun process! And in the end, its a good way to focus and define what it is you really want out of your Kickstarter and what you might want the future of your business or project to look like. We all know what kind of projects we enjoy working on, but when you have to vocalize and express what it is you do and what you want to do in the future, it's both tricky and enlightening.
2. What do you know now that you wish you knew then? (about running a Kickstarter project, or life in general!)
In terms of the Kickstarter, we were so amazed by the amount of support we received from our friends and family, and even strangers. We do all of our work in Carly's basement and many of our orders are custom orders, meaning we create something different from our normal product line and ship it out to the customer. So many of the projects we work on go unseen. It was great to make our company more visible and to receive such an overwhelming response. We're really proud of what we've accomplished over the last year and its just great to know that other people like what we do.
3. Why leather? What's great about it/what drew you to working with it?
I've always enjoyed working with my hands and working on crafts. I love knitting, crocheting, sewing, etc. I think what really drew me to leather is similar to what draws me to all of these crafts — the idea that certain techniques are timeless. I find this especially true with leather. Before you can even begin to bring in your own creative input, you have to first master the basics, and these are techniques that have been tested and perfected over many, many years. It's definitely humbling to think of leather artisans that learned the craft from their parents, who learned from their parents, etc.
4. Who is your dream customer and how would you imagine them using your stuff?
I'm not sure I would say we have one specific "dream customer," but I do think we have a dream clientele. We often find ourselves falling in love with and appreciating brands and products on the market or in stores, but not being able to afford them. One of our goals was to make a product that is handmade and high quality but also affordable. At this point, seeing a stranger in Portland wearing one of our belts or carrying one or our bags would be a huge thrill.
5. Any words of wisdom for all the would-be project creators out there?
Go for it! Seriously. If anything it's a really amazing learning process and I think just the whole process of creating a project and expressing your goals is valuable. It's also fun to see how the community responds to what you're doing.