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“My passion for leatherwork started in 2016, when I was searching for a thoughtful gift for my then-boyfriend (now husband). Handcrafted leather notebooks were very popular back then, and I thought to myself, ‘how hard could it be to make one?’ So for his birthday, I decided to assemble a leather-bound traveler’s diary that could be used as a stylish notebook. But leathercrafting is a painstaking handicraft that requires research and lots of practice to perfect, and little did I know that it would take a lot of trial and error to achieve my goal. I finally realized the meaning of the old saying: “the mechanic who wishes to do his work well must first sharpen his tools.” Needless to say, I ended buying him a gift instead, as my first attempt to make him the notebook was unsuccessful.
Three years and countless hours devoted to learning more about leatherwork later, I took a second attempt at making a gift for my husband. It took me days to make, but this time, it was a success. My husband said it was beautifully crafted and that the leatherwork was smoother and more refined than anything you could find on the market because it was made with care and love.
Seeing how appreciative my husband was made all the hard work I had put into assembling that gift worthwhile. It also fueled my enthusiasm to continue perfecting leathercrafting. Since then, I have spent countless hours on online forums for tips, reading books and practicing to refine my skills.
The biggest challenge in leatherworking lies in the knife work. For it to look delicate, each piece of leather needs to be shoveled down by hand to 0.2mm. Of course, to save time or to bypass the intricate knife skills, one can simply tear the leather, but the final product will look uneven and unattractive.
Leathercrafting has made me realize I am a perfectionist. I have yet to make a leather bag that has reached my standards of perfection. The stitching has to be wave-shaped, and each stitch must move in the same direction and slope precisely at the same angle. The leather should be smooth like silk, without bubbles or other flaws.
This drive for perfection also extends to my work. My team optimizes and refines recommendation algorithm models for customers, including what they see on the homepage, payment orders and shopping carts. Just like when I’m leathercrafting, I hold myself to the highest standards at work and motivate my team to do the same.”
Compiled and prepared by Logan Liu from the Lazada communications team in China.
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