Interviews

The Interview — Rae Liu, Co-Founder & Creative Director of Leatherology

Co-Founder & Creative Director of Leatherology

Rae is the co-founder and creative director of Leatherology, a direct-to-consumer brand that is redefining simple, every day luxury. Every item in the collection is thoughtfully crafted, beautifully minimal and designed to be personalizable—with hand-painted initials or hand-debossed letters.

Prior to starting Leatherology, Rae worked for many years in fashion accessories in New York, where she helped launch Alexander Wang’s handbag and footwear business. She currently lives in Dallas and has two young children.

For more on Rae and Leatherology be sure to check out leatherology.com and follow @leatherology and #leatherology on Instagram!

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June 24, 2019

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R&S

What inspired the idea behind Leatherology:

Rae

I spent most of my 20's working in New York for fashion accessories brands. I hated that as a young woman working in fashion, I could not afford the very products I spent my days creating, and that the ones I could afford did not have the level of craftsmanship or use the quality of materials I knew was possible. There was also a relentless push toward “newness” and designs rarely had an opportunity to be tested and perfected. As a result, I felt passionately about creating high-quality leather accessories that were accessibly priced and would stand the test of time from a design and craftsmanship perspective.

R&S

Walk us through a typical work day:

Rae

Honestly, no day is the same. I am fortunate that I get to be creative and analytical on a daily basis, and that I have an incredible team now to work alongside. Each day is a mix of planning, design, analysis, and troubleshooting.

R&S

Who has had the biggest impact on your career:

Rae

My father is an entrepreneur and a big source of inspiration. He has been through way more ups and downs than I have and helps provide perspective. The COO at one of my previous fashion jobs, Gabriel, was also a huge supporter and helped me believe I had what it took to do something on my own.

R&S

Biggest challenge you when first starting Leatherology and how did you overcome this obstacle:

Rae

I am a perfectionist by nature, and I’ve always struggled with knowing when to ask for help and when to let go. Early on I tried to do everything myself, which only leads to burnout. I needed to learn to let go at the right time and find good people and give them the freedom to run.  

R&S

What do you love most about your work:

Rae

I love that I get to see creative ideas turned into real products and designs. For a product geek like myself, there is nothing more thrilling than seeing an entire production floor making the thing I conceptualized—and then opening Instagram and seeing that product being loved by someone out in the wild or getting positive customer feedback.

R&S

Current favorite product from Leatherology:

Rae

The Leatherology Willow Envelope 4-in-1 bag is my current favorite. It is a slim wallet designed to be large enough to hold an iPhone, keys, cash, and all your cards, that converts into a crossbody, wristlet or fanny pack. As a mom of two young children, this is the perfect bag for me—I use it as a wallet during the week and turn it into a crossbody on weekends when I am chasing after the kids. It can also be beautifully personalized with a hand-painted monogram or a foil monogram.  

R&S

Share your biggest guilty pleasure:

Rae

Sleeping in on the weekends! My husband and I try to trade off on who gets up with the kids.  

R&S

You decompress each day by:

Rae

Spending time in my garden with my children. My kids are at an age where when I walk through the door each evening after work, they still run to me and give me giant hugs. It’s the best feeling in the world. We play outside afterward and they help me pick peas and strawberries in the garden, or whatever is ready at the time.

R&S

Favorite Instagram account to follow:

Rae

I love interiors, so current favorites include @theselby, @noasantos, @fionafidder, @sarahshermansamuel. And @chrissyteigen makes me laugh.

R&S

One piece of advice you would give your 18­-year-old-self:

Rae

Believe in yourself, be proactive, and believe that you deserve wonderful opportunities.