NC Artist Profile: The gals from RUBYASSATA talk handmade

When we first had the idea for The Makery, we began scouring the web for NC artists and craftspeople that we admired. When we came across the leather bags, wallets, and bowties from RUBYASSATA, we knew this level of design and craftsmanship was just the thing we wanted to expose The Makery community to. After checking out their awesome Kickstarter campaign (more news on Kickstarter to come!) we thought we’d pick their brains to find out more about their process and their thoughts on the handmade movement.

ImageAlisha and her partner in crime, Courtney

Sister Team: Tell us a little about your biz and what you do.

Courtney: RUBYASSATA is a leather duo from Wilmington, NC. Alisha has been sewing since birth. She’s pretty spectacular! I joined her in the winter of 2010 when she needed help with a trunk show. We have been together ever since! Our handmade leather goods are made in a tiny studio we have set up in the house we live in. At the moment, it’s more of a side project for us. We love making stuff together but we also have full time jobs. One day we hope to make RUBYASSATA full time. We make hobos, backpacks, wallets, tiny wallets, clutches, laptop cases, tote bags, luggage tags, and bow ties at this point. We try to make pieces that are timeless and lasting. Everything is made out of leather with a hint of vintage fabric and our hardware is made in America!


The handmade leather Alvin Case

ST: Why do you think handmade is important? Why do you think there’s such a focus on handmade/crafted goods right now?

C: For starters, we believe strongly in buying products made in America. For us, it’s about the craftsmanship and how a product is made. It’s nice to know that what you are buying is made by someone who cares about there products and it’s something they enjoy making. If you are going to spend a good deal of money on something, you want it to last! I think the focus of handmade and local is definitely shifting and it has been for the past couple of years. Why buy a product that is mass produced when you can buy something unique? Even if a bag is $300, when you buy handmade you know it’s one of a kind and unique to your style. You can’t get products like this from overseas factories pumping out products all day long. I think now people are putting their trust in local products made by people they know. When you can meet a designer and learn more about their process, it’s easier to trust what they are making. It’s also super important to mention that North Carolina was a huge textile state and I think there is a bit of nostalgia about that. There are so many resources for handmade designers, not just in NC, but all over the south! People are realizing there roots and going back to that.

ST: Is there something unique about your process, or something you are particularly proud of?

C: The most unique part of our process would be our linings. Everything is vintage and we don’t have a lot of each material. It’s not often that we can make the same piece twice, so you always get a one of a kind item. There is something special when we use the last piece of one of our great grandmother’s fabrics. I don’t think you can get this anywhere else. This is also a very challenging part of our process. When people see something they like and want it recreated, often we can’t do that. Challenging, but one of the many reasons our leather goods are unique.

As for something we are proud of, the Daria Backpack! We are constantly being asked “Why don’t you make backpacks!?!?” and we finally did it! I think it’s the most challenging piece we have made. It really took a whole year just to find the right hardware! Patterning and making it fit perfectly also took some time. At one point, we had sewn one of them upside down. That’s challenging at 1 in the morning.


The Daria Backpack

ST: What is it like having a business in NC?
C: Wilmington has such a great support for handmade items. With places like Edge of Urge, they encourage us to keep doing what we love. Without this outlet, I’m not sure where we would be. They also put together amazing events, like the handmade holiday market in December, to help small businesses like us get more exposure to people buying local. I can’t even begin to name all of the handmade events we’ve been asked to be apart of in Wilmington. Pop up shows, fashion shows, trunk shows, you name it. There is a whole culture in Wilmington of handmade designers. Often it’s a side project but a wonderful outlet to share something you are proud of. Our friends and families have also been super supportive. We are lucky to be surrounded by a community that believes handmade is important and they get it!
And there you have it! We agree that when you buy local handmade, you can trust that your product was made with care and intention, and made out of love and enthusiasm for the process! What a cool way to shop.
If you love what RUBYASSATA has got going on as much as we do, be sure to check out their Etsy store or check out their website, and look out for possible collaboration in the future.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for some exciting news….

3 thoughts on “NC Artist Profile: The gals from RUBYASSATA talk handmade

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