Naša Posla Leatherworking

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Naša posla is the brainchild of two girls who wanted to change their professional direction.Around 2012, they started to work with leather. Snežana Veljković focused on handmade leather shoes, while Marija Đorđević started designing and making handbags and backpacks.
Marija Đorđević studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade. She was mainly involved in film and video art and decided to change her professional and creative direction. Both her and Snežana wanted to do something together, and to make things by hand. They did not plan for it to become a business, but some years down the line they are still commercially making their accessories, as well as doing commission work for theatre and film.
They both learned leatherwork from a shoemaker Miša Surutka based in Zrenjanin. He mostly worked for theatre and by commission. The training took up almost two years, mostly through prototyping their own designs. She learned all of the necessary skills, but Miša is still a valuable source of technical support. Marija nowadays works with Nenad, her friend, assistant and co-worker, and the two have accomplished a great flow of their modest but effective production.
One of the challenges for the future is to develop online sales, as the prices of the products are relatively high for local standards, and also as a way of extending the market potential. A modest, rational and gradual extension of their production might be the right way forward.

Naša posla is the brainchild of two girls who wanted to change their professional direction. They started around 2012 and focused on working with leather. Snežana Veljković focused on handmade leather shoes, while Marija Djordjević started designing and hand making handbags and backpacks.

After moving from her initial workshop/store, Marija settled down in a tiny 16 m² space in Dubrovačka street in Dorćol, while the sales are happening online and in a downtown store she shares with a couple of other fashion-related designers.

They are sourcing some of the leather from local producers. The rest is Italian leather — the remains of the materials used by Italian brands' factories in Serbia. One of the leather factories is based in Zrenjanin, and most of the time this is where the leather comes from. Italy is, on the other hand, source of the colors they use, while the wax comes from the USA.

Tailoring and sewing are two basic techniques, as well as thinning of the leather in order to make seamless joints. The sewing machine is at the heart of the workshop. An array of hand tools is used, with the older tools being the more reliable ones. As both Marija and Nenad say, their way of production is pure primitivism, and eventually they do not need even electricity in order to run their show.
The process begins with tailoring/cutting and continues with assembly and gluing both inside and outside parts. The edges are subtly thinned on the machine in order to prepare them for gluing, after which the joints are also sewn together. Many of the steps are carefully synchronized
between Marija and Nenad, so that the time is used rationally, in the correct and logical sequence. Buckles and filling are added towards the end, and finally the handles are applied.
A lot of experimentation happens in the finishing phase, with the application of colors in unusual ways. Most of the products are based on several basic models. But it is the handmade quality, the simple and timeless design and approach to colors that give Naša posla bags a truly unique feel.

Main products are shoes and backpacks, with one of the partners taking entire care of one of the lines. Most of the customers are women. Earlier on, basic monochromatic models were selling very well, and most of them were purchased directly from them, at the workshop.
All of the models are the same, but the materials, colors and finishing vary. Remains of materials are upcycled and used for creating smaller one-off products, like tiny wallets and pockets that are sold cheaply or act as give-aways. They had some distribution in Croatia (Split and Zagreb), Berlin, Vienna, Japan and other places. Online sales are functioning as direct sales via social networks, and partially via their website and other digital outposts. They also do a lot of custom work for television, theatre and local and international film productions.