By Nick Pernokas
In a small leather shop in the town of Lyubertsy, just outside of Moscow, rock music plays in the background while a young woman hand sews her newest creation. The handbag that she’s working on is unique, to say the least. This one-of-a-kind piece isn’t typical of the run-of-the-mill, leather handbag lines. The geometry is not symmetrical. No, it’s more than unique; it is an edgy, cool, sexy, post-apocalyptic piece of leather art. Think Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner.
Welcome to the world of Redsun Handmade. Anna Gavrilova, a former redhead, has made good use of her nickname. She’s also made good use of an excellent eye for color and design to produce these hot creations, which appeal to younger people that don’t want to carry their grandmother’s handbag.
Thirty-three-year-old Anna has always been attracted to leather. She had done various types of needlework since childhood, as well as being able to draw quite well. But, leather work had always intimidated her. Four years ago, Anna needed a bag and she knew just what she wanted. She could not find it anywhere.
“So I thought, why not sew it myself?” says Anna.
That was the beginning of her business. She began making knitted Juke bags with leather inserts. Soon, Anna experimented with leather.
“Then the ‘skin’ fell in love with me, and now I work only with leather.”
Anna makes bags and backpacks primarily. She also produces some wallets, cosmetic bags and covers. Each bag is made one time and not repeated. The customer can rest easy knowing that the item is an original; there is no other like it in the world. A broad color palette covers interesting distressed textures and shapes of leather. The antiqued hardware adds interest; some bags even have whimsical artwork, ranging from dragons to dream catchers, etched into them. Each piece comes wrapped in an attractive Redsun canvas sheath, which is a nice touch.
Anna works in cowhide, as well as goat, camel and buffalo. She likes the leather to have a “vintage” look.
“In my products I always try to preserve the natural edge of the skin, its unique natural pattern and scars, scratches received by animals during life.”
Anna looks for the correct weight, thickness, density and also beautiful patterns, when she picks her leather.
“Often I take non-colored skin; I paint it myself, add the effect of antiquity, and process it.”
Although Anna does almost everything by herself, her family – husband, Sergey and son, Nikita – gives her some great support. Nikita is six years old and already sews a little. Her husband helps her whenever possible; he likes to make leather belts. Other moral support at home is provided by their two cats and fish.
Anna is interested in learning how to make shoes and clothes. For the time being though, all of her time is spent on her purses and bags.
Because Lyubertsy is located near Moscow, it is a convenient city to have a business in and to ship products around the world from. If Anna can’t find what she needs in Moscow, then she purchases tools and material over the internet. Most of her leather tools have been purchased from China.
In the future, Anna plans to grow her brand, produce in a larger workshop and have a team of like-minded people. She would like to make Redsun Handmade a well-known brand around the world.
“This is not just business for me, but creativity. I believe that such products have their own uniqueness and their own soul.”
With Anna’s creativity and uniqueness, it’s a good bet that we’ll be hearing a lot more about Redsun Handmade.
American customers can find Anna’s products on Instagram: @redsun_handmade. She is also on the Russian site, Fair Masters. In the near future she plans to register on the international trading platform, Etsy. Anna’s email is email@example.com .