Equus Leather is a relatively new brand that has quickly made a name for itself for its beautiful handmade English leather products. Founded by Charlie Trevor, a true artisan, Equus produces high end leather goods emanating from the tradition English bridle leather. There are no logos to call attention to itself, just beautiful leather. We recently had the chance to speak with Trevor and learn more about Equus below.
LC: How did you enter the trade of leather and bridle crafts, and how long have you been doing it?
EL: As a young man I rode horses for a living, and as a result saddlery and leatherwork was part of my life from a very young age. I was lucky enough to be based with a Giddeons (later part of Swaine Aideney Brigg) trained Master Saddler which gave me a great start, and Ive been developing my skills ever since. I suppose I have crossed the 20 year mark now worryingly!
LC: When did you start Equus?
EL: Equus was started 6 years ago, specifically to address the lack of quality leather goods available online.
LC: How did you decide to focus on belts and watch straps?
EL: These are really a natural progression for a saddler. The way that we make them reflect the materials and techniques of the saddler and they are a great way for us to make beautiful things in the way that be should that keeps the heritage of our craft and business relevant. Many of the famous leathergoods brands started this way, either as saddlers or luggage makers, and the great ones have managed to retain their craft as they move into other areas. The other reason of course is I love lovely leather, and that I wear belts and watches so for me to have nice things I need to make them!
LC: Can you share with us the amount of work and time that goes into making a belt?
EL: This varies significantly from belt to belt and you can see the variation of the work in the prices we charge. The simple Bridle Leather belts that we sell the most of take around an hour and a half for a time served craftsman to make, the bulk of the time being in the edge finishing and stitching. One of our Lined and Raised belts though will take around a day, though again the bulk of that time is finishing and stitching, however they will have potentially a thousand stitches per belt, rather than the 35 or so in one of the regular belts.
LC: What in your opinion separates a great belt from a good belt?
EL: Every single detail in a product is significant, and even using similar techniques and similar leather you could make either a poor belt or a great belt. The difference is picking great (not just OK) leather and buckles, handling and preparing them with skill and reverence and then having a craftsperson who really cares about the details and has the talent to back up that attention to detail. My experience is that even amongst well trained, time served craftspeople its only the small minority who have the temperament to make great work, even in something overtly simple.
LC: What makes an Equus belt unique?
EL: What makes our business unique is the ability to create and order a bespoke product online from the best materials and I hope some of the best craftsmanship in the world. What makes the belts unique more than any other factor is that they very likely genuinely are unique. Each of our products have hundreds of thousands of permutations, and our Lined and Raised beltshave an infinite number, so in many cases a belt might have some cousins, but its very unlikely to have a twin anywhere in the world
LC: Currently are you only selling online?
EL: Yes. Much of what we do is bespoke, so in a lot of ways is difficult to present in a shop that well. We like to take the time to talk people through what they do and the website provides a lot of the information people are keen to know but in an environment they can read at their own time and place without feeling a salesman hovering.
LC: Where are most of your customers from?
EL: All over the world! Right now we have our work in around 70 countries and all 7 continents (we have a belt in Antarctica at the moment!). On the whole much of our work goes to the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, China as well as the UK and Europe
LC: What brands do you admire?
EL: I love craftsmanship and beauty, so the creative businesses who value these things are my favorite. I love how Moynant dress their shops and the finish of Cartier jewellery, as well as the refinement of some of the leatherwork coming from Japan and Singapore