Stuart Coupland, founder of Coupland Leather
Chloe Shakesby

North East leather specialist grows 'side hustle' by 675% after redundancy

A North East leather business has reported a 675 per cent growth over the past year due to the pandemic.

Coupland Leather, launched in 2018 as a ‘side hustle’ for entrepreneur Stuart Coupland, went from creating 81 pieces to the end of 2019, to 442 in 2020 alone.

The catalyst for this was a pandemic-induced redundancy, meaning that Stuart went from working on the business part-time to full-time.

As well as growing 675 per cent year on year from 2019 to 2020, Stuart designed and launched ore than 20 new products and grew an international presence with sales in the US and Australia.

Stuart commented: “At first I had a look online to see what others were doing through craft websites like Etsy.

“Rather than trying to copy their model, I took a step back and reviewed my career path, the connections I have, the people I deal with and then started to think about and consider products that those people might like.

“I took this a step further and spoke to friends who fell within that target audience to see what they wanted to see me make.

“Over the years I have added a couple of products a month, a lot of the time through commission-style enquiries asking if I made something like ‘X’.

“After making the products, I took images and added them to the ever-growing product list on my website and this sparked more questions about what I could make.

“The plan now is to continue building the brand and the business. People have seen it evolve from a hobby to a serious and professional company making high quality products and that is where I want to be.

“In 2021 I’ll be focusing more on the ladies’ accessories market such as handbags, as well as expanding the existing ranges.”

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