Santa’s up on Queen Street and the first flush of summer’s in the air, so you know what that means…
It’s showroom open season.
I went to Process to-o-day-ay fa la la la laaa la la la la,
And talked to Deadly Po-nies yay-ay fa la la la laaa la la la la.
If you couldn’t decipher that little jingle (which I just wrote then, can you believe it?), Process PR had their open day today, and I went along for a look see. The Deadly Ponies installation (pictured above) – featuring about twenty bags stuck to the wall caught my eye, so I had a little chat with Liam Bowden (brother of Dominic) and Katie Smith; the dynamic duo behind the leather-goods, jewellery and knitwear label. They’re about to expand on a massive scale internationally, so I predict Deadly Ponies will soon be a household name.
What’s the name of this bag (modelled by Liam Bowden above)?
Mr Knitted Proper.
All of your bags are called Mister something right? Where did that come from?
We just spent so long with them that we kind of gave them Mister, because it makes them more of a person, or a character.
Where did the inspiration for the pattern come from?
We just played with knitwear and knits in the winter range so we just took a piece of the chunky knitting that we did and enlarged it and then knitted it in leather pretty much.
And then chucked it on a bag.
Who does all the knitting for you?
Katie’s mum. But this one (the bag) we have to knit ourselves, unfortunately.
So who does all the production on your bags?
Both of us.
You do it all in-house?
So how long would a bag like this take to make?
One might take half a day? But if you get kind of a good run then you can kinda get a decent run done in a day or a week.
Wow. And you make all of your bags by hand?
Do you have to treat any of the leathers yourselves? Or does everything come to you pretreated?
It’s all New Zealand leather, we make sure it is before we get it, and then we kind of know that it’s going to be good quality and all the rest of it.
And you don’t dye any of it yourselves?
Some of it we get taken somewhere else and put in a tumbler, to tumble dry it and soften it, and others we get dying things done to it, like tie-dye; we got suede tie-dyed. And some of the knitwear, the other pieces, it’s usually the things other than leather that we have things done to. The Bunny Bag with the bunny face, we just get that dyed and then attached.
And you’re planning on expanding, so you’re exporting overseas?
So you’re opening up accounts where?
Opening up accounts, go with that one: America, Canada, South Korea, Japan, and we’ve already got Australia.
And so as production increases, and you’re going to have to start making hundreds and hundreds of bags, how will it be possible for you guys to still make things in-house?
More I guess just refining things and making them a lot more tighter, and more stricter, and we’re also slowly training up different people but it’s just hard to find skilled – people with the skill sets here in New Zealand, so we just train them pretty much (laughs).
On a bag like this which takes half a day to make, what is retail on a bag like this?
I think that retails for $380.
So it’s really reasonably priced.
So if you add it up, half a day’s, what, four hours or something?
Wow so it’s a really good deal then.
With your brother being Dominic Bowden, have you ever gotten him to do a little plug for you on TV or anything?
Um no (laughs).
Or any product placement?
No not as of yet, I guess we’ve just left the product to talk for itself.
Well it definitely does that.
And he gets a few freebies and gifts at Christmas (laughs).