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#DoBizZA: Born in lockdown, 22Leather creates hand-crafted bags for all

Recent months of lockdown have seen the importance of supporting locally-made products, services and neighbourhood enterprises in order for economies to survive and thrive. This September, we're putting the spotlight on all things local.
Growing up, Jono Langtry always had an attraction to fashion and design. When Mark, the younger brother started showing a similar interest, but using leather, the two brothers decided that perhaps they should put their ideas together and that's the start of 22Leather.

Jono Langtry tells us more about the Proudly South African 100% leather handcrafted bags for everyone.
Jono Langtry, co-founder of 22Leather

BizcommunityWhen and how was the brand born?


The whole concept started with my brother Mark in 2018, who is the co-owner of 22Leather. He was looking for a new hobby and settled on making leather handbags. I was working as head of production and styling of a local clothing line at the time but also slowly took an interest in this work as well.

Once the pandemic hit, I lost my job and trying to find a new one proved incredibly difficult. So before everything happened this year we started to seriously plan the launch of our new company. My brother came up with a name and on 25 May 2020, 22Leather was born.

BizcommunityHow did you come up with the name?


We knew that we wanted the word 'Leather' in our brand. We are two brothers and 22 is our lucky number as well, so we wanted to incorporate that all with our name. Making it different, personal and bringing us luck with our business.

BizcommunityWhat’s your vision for the brand?


My vision for our brand is to eventually become more than just your typical hand-crafted accessories store. I’d like to branch out into interior and clothing as well; making our company more of a leather lifestyle brand as well as one which may have focused on accessories when we started.
The Everyday Totes in Tan and Black

BizcommunityTell us about your product offering.


All of our products are handcrafted from 100% genuine leather. We currently have 13 different designs/bags each and every bag has no gender assigned to it so we appeal to all types of different people, making our products all inclusive.

We use neutral tones for our colour pallet of our bags. The majority of our bags come in black, tan or chocolate, and some of our designs come in all three colours.

BizcommunityAre the products locally manufactured/produced in South Africa?
Everything is locally made by hand between my brother and myself. Our suppliers are all local businesses here in Cape Town which in turns helps us to create proudly South African products from fellow South African businesses.

BizcommunityWhat has the experience been like?


The experience has been fairly similar to my previous job while working for a local small business. Whenever you work for a small business, and I’m finding now, when owning a small business one has to wear many different hats in the work place. I’m the photographer, the marketing manager, the stylist, the designer and the creator of our products along with my brother doing the very same. It’s very trying at times, but it comes with so many rewards and so much satisfaction, especially given that all of our products are handcrafted and our customers give us incredibly positive feedback and show appreciation for their bags.

BizcommunityDo you have any new products lined up?


Yes we do. Currently, we are finishing up the last of our 2020 range with laptop sleeves, laptop bags, wallets, card holders and a few new sling bags coming in some fresh pop of colour just in time for Spring and Summer.

BizcommunityHow long have your products been in the market?


We launched our products officially the 25 May 2020 and sold our very first bag the next day! And we’ve been going ever since.
L to R: Sling Tote in Chocolate, Clutch in Tan, Mini Briefcase in Black, Envelope Crossbody in tan and Messenger Bag in Black.

BizcommunityWhat are some challenges of getting your products out there?


The market is incredibly competitive, not in a malicious way but rather that there are so many other businesses like ours all over South Africa. I’ve found that no matter how pretty your product may be it’s definitely how you market and present your product so I constantly have to be conscious about each social media post, making sure it stands out from the rest in some or other way.

Right now, because we are still very much in our baby phase, not only do we need to gain sales but we need to get our name out there as well.

BizcommunityHow can consumers get their hands on your products?


Well, you can find us on Instagram (@22leather_capetown) and on Facebook ( 22 Leather). Thanks to the amazing team at Rueko Studio we now have a website where you can learn more about us, our products and shop online.

To view products, go to https://22leather.co.za/.

About Evan-Lee Courie

Head of Content for Entrepreneurship and Group Editor overseeing the content mix for the ICT and Automotive industries.
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