Jetalla’Aneiu Meet The Maker February 7, 2021 – Posted in: Meet The Maker – Tags: craft, Jetalla'Aneiu, leather journey, meet the maker, story
Who and what is Jetalla’Aneiu?
Hi, we are glad to have the opportunity to share our story with you and your readers.
We –Paul & Ann– are a married couple who found our passion for leatherwork in 2014.
The desire to want to make a bag suddenly came to us early that year, in the midst of Paul’s intense job, which kept his blood pressure high at all times. We fell in love with leathercraft as soon as we started, we took some time to think of a name that would represent what we feel and what we are, we came up with Jetalla’Aneiu.
“Aneiu” itself is a special nickname Paul gave me when we started dating twenty years ago, –for both of us, it was love at first sight! This name is particularly meaningful to us, we felt it should be a part of the brand.
It represents the feeling we got when we first met ‘something’ that is so mesmerizing, it captures all of our attention. This is the way we want you to feel when you see Jetalla’aneiu for the very first time, –love at first sight!
Leatherwork was a new journey for both of us. Neither of us ever thought about diving into it, neither did our closest friends and family! However, they have always been very supportive and a great help.
Back in 2014, when we first started our leather journey, we really didn’t know where to begin and had to start everything from the scratch. It took us around one year to collect everything we needed, –at that time, information wasn’t as accessible as it is now
The first book we owned is “The Leatherworking Handbook” by Valerie Michael.
Now, we have an amazing book about leatherwork “The Leatherwork School book” by Ellen M. Valentine. It’s such an honor that Ellen featured us in her book!
It never crossed our mind that we could lay our hands on leather that came from tanneries thousands of miles. Let alone that we could transform that material into beautiful products that can be enjoyed by many. It’s such an exciting experience to think about.
We do believe it’s only by His grace that we are where we are now.
We feel the journey of God’s grace is the best way to represent what we feel and what we are. So, when people ask what Jetalla’aneiu means we would tell them, it’s a journey of grace.
When you were growing up what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a doctor! But then later, I found out that I cannot stand blood and suture.
I love to write and decorate things. When I was in high school, I loved to decorate my planner with colorful things and stories. That planner was often being borrowed by my classmates, simply because they loved how it looks and enjoy reading what is inside. So, I had to come up with a special code for some stories that are ‘kind of personal’, so they couldn’t read everything. Yet they found it challenging and very eager to crack the code.
That was really fun, then I thought to myself; maybe I should be a writer.
Paul wanted to be a businessman, an investment banker specifically. He is a serious person, he is a planner. He always thinks of everything and planning ahead. Whenever he is doing something, he does a lot of research and reading tons of books, — which is one among many things I love about him.
Then somehow, we ended here as leather artisans. Something we had never dreamed about, however, this is more than everything we could ever dream of.
How did you first discover your passion for working with leather?
To be honest, at first, we were clueless. We didn’t know where to begin, so we started googling leathercraft and leather courses, –at that time, leather workshops weren’t as popular they are now.
That led us to a course in Yogyakarta.
If you don’t know, Yogyakarta is famous for its handcraft like batik, leather, and silver. It’s also known for a well-known tourist destination; Borobudur, –one of eight World Wonders. So many people around the world would take vacations and attend this course.
Jogjakarta is around 2 hours by air from our home. At that time we had a 16 months old baby. We had no choice but to take all of our children –6 y.o and 16 m.o at that time– with us and along with their grandma to look after them while we’re taking the course.
After five days of intense private course making wallets and bags with Abenk, from the Kaula Leather workshop, we were positive this is what we were looking for.
We fell in love with everything leatherwork offers; the smells of the leather, the endurance of it, the traditional methods, how the needles and the threads crossing through creates beautiful stitches, how enjoyable the progress is.
All of those feelings and experiences pay off the hours we spent developing our skills, along with the sores on our hands and feet from cutting, punching, and stitching the leather.
We thought, if leatherwork could bring us this much joy, then we would love to share it with others too. Let them feel the way we feel and let everyone see the beauty of it.
Passion is contagious, when we see someone is passionate about something, we start to see what they see. It pumped up our excitement and it’s inspiring! Though, on the other hand, it could inspire a copycat as well. It is inevitable.
Who or what inspires you to create your pieces? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from?
Hermes surely was our biggest inspiration and biggest curiosity.
We even traveled to Singapore and flew home back straight afterward just to see their exhibition, –too bad we didn’t get to see their artisan at work because we were late. But it was the first time we learned about their story; that Hermes too, just like everyone else, started from a scratch.
The story about how they started with a very small space, and created custom horse riding equipment for families, and then start expanding is very encouraging.
We also got to see one of their earliest collections, This made us realize how everything takes time to develop, ‘great work does not happen over one night’.
If Hermes needed a hundred years to build its success, how could we possibly expect it in a blink of an eye?
The next crucial thing for us was to decide what style our leatherwork should be. It was very challenging because different from where we can now just go to Instagram or Pinterest and get inspired, back at that time, we have Instagram yet.
We stumbled across a video on Facebook by PeterNitz’s, a very old one, perhaps one of his very first. This video helped us to decide that we would be more dedicated to Chrome Tanned than the Veg tan. Also, we decided to use edge paint as the edge finishing. We haven’t looked back since! Three years later, we got the opportunity to learn from Peter himself! Peter is an amazing person, a dedicated teacher, and a great crafter, we learn almost everything from him! “
When we launched we released several products, we took most of our inspiration from our closest friends and family. We started to make bags and wallets for our closest family members. Our greatest inspiration at that time was coming from our little sister, Natallia.
She’s beautiful inside and out. She is easily touched and moved by many things. We knew how she loves babyfur, Puki. So we created something that related to it.
And so, was born Natalya bag which was named after her and then became our signature bag together with the Puki Bagcharm, –which later fathered many other animal-shaped bag charms.
Natallia of course was tearing in happiness when she received the first edition of the Natalya bag.
After some time, we started to get more clients, many of our inspirations came directly from their inquiries. Something as simple as; ‘Hey, can Jetalla make this combined with this and become that or this?’ or ‘Hey, I need something to put this in, but not too big. I want it to fit this but not like that.’
Their needs inspire more design, and their ideas were so good! That’s where a lot of Jetalla’s products like the mini-wallet, slider, slider plus, etc came from. I can say, all of our collections were inspired by our clients’ requests and needs.
And we have to thank them for these, for reaching out and sharing the ideas with us. We thank you! Without your support, we think it would be difficult to be where we are now.
Since the very beginning, we have decided that we would create hand crafted products with the best material and tools. We understood that the process would take a long time. It would need enormous accuracy and patience, and it did!
Producing things quickly and in large quantities is often tempting. But our greatest fear is to lose the joy and enjoyment that made us fall in love with this work in the first place. If we decided to go down that route we are scared this would happen along the way, we really don’t want our passion to be a chore.
In the middle of our journey, we met great people, who continue to support us. One piece of advice we remember is ‘Not to go too fast’. “Don’t be too fast!” The person who gave us that advice has seen a lot of people change their direction in their business and lose their passion.
‘Many people want to go faster, to earn more. Then they get lost, they forget the essence of the handmade touch completely. Making it a low-cost item that then leads to the low consideration of the wellbeing of the staff and their own.’
That’s what he told us!
So we learned to not be too fast; we restrained ourselves by limiting the number of incoming orders and prioritizing the quality over quantity.
Can you describe your workspace?
We are located in Bandung, Indonesia. If you don’t know where Indonesia is, it is well-known as Bali, but actually, Bali is just one among the 17,500 islands we have here. Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world.
We recently renovated our workspace, we merged it into our home so we can ‘work from home’ and still can watch over the children.
That’s why we haven’t been able to accept guests who want to visit our workshop because it’s integrated into our residence.
It’s all great, but there is a downside though. Because we –Paul & I– are such workaholics, our working hours became blurred and then unlimited. We just need to walk in and we are at work.
We try and be as efficient as we can by keeping everything we need in our workshop. We have installed special storage for the leathers with humidity control because our city has quite high humidity.
We have also installed special storage for liquids.
Because of the dust here in Indonesia, we have installed many draws for all of our tools and utensils. Meaning that nothing is left in the open. If you look at the photos of our workshop on Instagram you will see lots of draws.
If you had the opportunity to teach only one technique to somebody relatively new to the craft what would it be?
We usually start with ‘pricking’ from one side to the other.
But if we want to divide it into two equal halves with the final stitch that ends at the same distance, we always need to start from the middle.
This must be accompanied by the size of the product as well as the size of the pricking iron used so that the end result looks precise and neat.
What’s one thing other people might not know about you?
We are introverts. We charge our energies by spending time alone. We both don’t like to hang out if it is not necessary, home is our comfiest place. So actually this pandemic doesn’t change our life dramatically, since we are already rarely leaving the house.
If you had to choose one project that stands out in your mind, which one would it be and why?
The first three tones of the Natalya bag! It was both challenging and exciting!
The challenging part is how to combine colors into harmony. And this first collection paved the way for other color combinations, inspiring us and those who have seen it. I would love to make a special edition of the Natalya bag one day, it’s been in my mind for so long, but I am having a hard time managing between design development and production.
What advice would you give to anybody looking to learn leathercraft?
Enjoy the process!
Giving advice doesn’t mean we are great or perfect. We are all learning by doing and it’s a lifetime learning process.
Our best teacher is our mistake, so don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Because it’s not failing at something, we are actually given the opportunity to improve and get better! So fail, fail better. Do better.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the material you choose! The way to find the right reinforcements is to experiment with them. Get to know the traits of the material you use, how it reacts when it is completely glued or just glued on the edges. And how the material reacts when it’s bent and combined with the leather of our choice.
To get the best result you have to try it by yourself, what fits others might not necessarily fit your design. Don’t forget to keep a record of each experiment because we, humans, often forget.
And yes, the process will be exhausting, challenging, demanding, and full of pressure. Sometimes you would feel like you want to give up and stop. But this actually where you will find yourself. You should keep going, even if it’s very slow, it’s okay. Slow progress is progress.
Remember to not be too fast, find the joy in every adversity.
Enjoy the process! It shapes us to be better
What advice would you give your old self? If you could travel back in time.
Don’t stay up late!
The later the night, the quieter the atmosphere is, and I find it the most productive time for studying, creating or working.
As a business owner and someone that sells goods through an online presence, what advice would you give to someone looking to sell their products?
We need to educate our audience about our products. We are the ones who understand the most of what we sell, so tell them about our best selling points. Is it our high-end material? The hand stitching? Tell them all and let them see our dedication to our work.
Fast forward 10 years where do you see yourself and your business?
We don’t know where we would be in the next 10 years but we do hope we’re still doing what we’re doing today, doing our leathercraft wholeheartedly, And people can keep seeing the value of our work and keep supporting us.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for following this conversation to the end. We are happy to share our experience with you and our knowledge with you and the community.
See you the next time. 😊 🥂
Where to find Jetalla’Aneiu
Website: Coming Soon