So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.

During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.

I love leather and was so excited when I found local leather genius, Claire from Rugged Moose! Her items are handcrafted with love and are just beautiful. She is very talented! From wallets to bags, to key rings and book covers, kiddies booties and dummy clips – in any size and an array of colours. You will be spoiled for choice!

We chatted to the lovely Claire and she had this to say!

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Tell us about the name “Rugged Moose”?

Our family dog, a Boerbull named Moose is the most gorgeous gentle giant.

He got a puppy sister who used to pull and bite his cheeks (not unlike Simba in Lion King) and as a result, one afternoon I remarked that Moose was becoming quite rugged. And like that, Rugged Moose was born.

How does it feel to be a successful business owner that inspires others and loves what they do?

In 2018, I started Rugged Moose Leather as a side hustle. I was looking for a creative outlet, not a business necessarily. However, the love and passion and ability to create beautiful products has allowed me to enter a space where I am at capacity as a side business and I am considering bringing somebody on-board to move into a more full-time space in the near future.

I am lucky in that I never started this business with the idea to make money. That’s just been a benefit of doing what I love. If that can inspire someone, I hope it does.

What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?

Failure is inevitable.

The small details make a big impact.

Lastly and most importantly, marketing and promoting my own products and my own brand is difficult and I’ve had to learn to believe in myself and what I make. But I’ve also learnt that the love your pour into your products, allows them to sell themselves.

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Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.

I would love to have a workshop space where people can shop in person (as opposed to online) and have a look at what the process looks like from hide to handbag. Couple that with coffee and plants and we’re living the dream!

I’d love to have moved into the leather-making space on a full-time basis, employing others and seeing where we can go to from there.

What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?

Firstly, if it’s a passion, it won’t feel like a job. Make it fun and allow it to fuel your creativity. Sometimes, my side business is the best part of my day.

Secondly, take a risk. If it works, great, if not, you would’ve learnt a lot.

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Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worthwhile?

The joy of dreaming up a product and creatively going about making it come to life, as well as the smiles and excitement that each customer has on receiving their piece, reinforces why I started in the first place.

That, and the joy of not reporting to anyone else but myself is invaluable.

How has lock down affected you and your team?

The start of lockdown was slow and I actually had a bit of a break and time to dream up some new products, make samples and approach some businesses for collaboration, but business is back up and thriving with lots in store for the future – think new ranges, collaborations and competitions.

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For any orders or commissions, please contact Claire on ruggedmooseleather@gmail.com and follow her on Instagram! Items can also be bought from Bibi Rouge’s store in Benmore, Joburg x

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