Our first shared studio

Machines at the studio

Over time some machines were added to the studio and everything was funded by the leatherwork. Bought a leather, made stuff out of it, sell them and then buy two leathers, etc. Used machinery is not readily available, so you need to check the sales advertisements once in a while. They are not typically expensive and are great to start with.

In the beginning all kinds of leathers were used, everything I could get my hands on. Mostly it was chrome tanned leathers from Spain, because those could be ordered by a catalogue and one by one. I also used some local vegetable tanned leathers, but the backsides were not smooth enough and thickness varied a lot for products I wanted to make. In any way the quality varied a lot in both cases.

Prototyping a leather coin purse.

So I started to look for a vegetable tanned leather tannery to order leathers from. Mostly there were no replies, or the quantities were huge. On and off it took around a year to find a tannery, whose quantities were more acceptable for our small business. It took some months of sales of our products to fund the first order of leathers.

Taking products to a reseller, just four Fold Wallets in different colors and one keytube.

Around that period our Fold Wallet, with various variations, and Keytube were created. We started to praticipate in all kinds of design fairs, not only in Tallinn, but also in Pärnu and Viljandi. It always meant that I packed some products in a suitcase and took an early bus. The fairs were not a huge success in terms of sales, but great for feedback.

Sneaker prototype.

I also did some product development projects for other companies and brands like footwear, leather accessories and specialist bag design and prototyping, but also technical drawing, patternmaking and prototyping of pet collars and illuminated evening bags. These extra jobs also helped to fund Mokoko, invest in equipment that otherwise would have been out of my budget and just to get to know ones job preferences. 

Technical prototyping of an illuminating cluch for another brand.

By the end of 2014 the space started to become packed, we started to book times to be able to work alone in the studio or for private meeting with a client. Ok, the space was not fancy for sure, but whatever, we decided to work with what we had and the clients were very understanding. There is always something about a creatives workshop, that makes people positively amazed, like what machine is this... and that?

I also found a desirable Landis shoe finishing machine, sold by a local cobbler. This made the need of moving to a bigger space apparent, because it was 3.5m long. Over the years, the machine is still great in what it is able to do, but it has also been a real headache because of the size and I really haven’t taken the time to really use it unfortunately. It’s complicated.