Debbie MacPherson set up Freeload Accessories in 2006. She handcrafts leather accessories including technology cases, wash bags and handbags in her South Devon based studio.
This post is a short interview to introduce you to her range of fantastic products.
How did you get started doing what you do?
My career as an accessories maker began as an 18 year old in 1995 when I completed a two year training scheme with a small Cornish shoemakers.
This is where my passion for leather accessories began, it also instilled in me a strong desire to explore the fashion side of the industry and to develop myself further.
After moving to London and completing a BA Honours degree in footwear and accessories design at the renowned Cordwainers College I decided to work for myself as a designer/maker and Freeload Accessories was born in 2006.
How do you differentiate yourself in a crowded market? What is special about your products?
Each product of ours is individually handcrafted, great attention to detail is paid to each piece. As all our accessories are made by us we are often able to add personal touches at the customers request.
All our leathers are sourced directly from an Italian tannery, it is important to us to know the source of our leathers.
Whereabouts does your manufacturing take place?
All manufacturing takes place in our small workshop based in Paignton, South Devon.
How tricky has it been to put together a high quality product?
The most difficult part of the development process is sourcing fittings that are both strong and attractive. We work hard to produce accessories that are hard wearing and of a high quality, therefore we would not want a sub-standard fitting to let us down. We ensure that all fittings used are rigorously tested to avoid this issue.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love the satisfaction of designing a brand new product. The making process is always great fun for me, there is nothing more satisfying than having a plain hide of leather at the start of the day and ending up with a fantastic new handbag by the end of the day!
Do you have any new products/ranges planned for the next year or so?
I’m currently planning a hybrid of a satchel and backpack which will be ideal for business people on the move, so watch this space!
From what or who do you take inspiration?
I take my inspiration in many forms ranging from the nature around me, a vintage find or what’s currently on trend within the fashion world. I particularly enjoy mixing traditional techniques with a modern twist; the use of the highest quality Italian leather with feature stitching and chunky brass or nickel saddlery fittings has become my trademark look.
Which product in your range do you personally use the most and why?
I try to use each design that is made as it is important to see how it wears and if any changes need to be made.
If you like what you see then you can take a peak at the full range of Freeload accessories here.