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06 May 2021

Rediscovering Leather Craftsmanship

Written by Published in Entrepreneurs
Photography by Lobo Velar Photography by Lobo Velar

When Argentine entrepreneur Carla Busso left her office job in pursuit of a deeper purpose, she built a brand with tradition at its core. Sublime explores the origins of her artisan handbag atelier.

There are two sides to a corporate career. The first is perhaps more obvious: the birth of a new company. The second might be a trigger, inspiration, for doing things differently. The story of Carla Busso includes the best of both.

For years in the insurance industry, Busso couldn’t help but notice how limiting corporate dress codes were. She wanted to comply, but the urge to express herself was growing stronger. There’s more to life than numbers, after all, and so she took matters into her own hands and embarked on a journey to find the perfect handbag. One that reflects her personal style, that replaces ‘accessory’ with ‘fashion statement’.

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A handbag aficionado, Busso indulged and invested in and, soon enough, questions and compliments started rolling in. Whether in an office meeting or at airport security, she would hear, ‘Where did you find this luxury piece?’, ‘What brand is that model?’ or ‘Could I get a closer look?’. And there it was: Busso’s lightbulb moment. There was an opportunity for something more than a hobby: a business, a concept, a purpose…

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She began researching the handbag industry every moment she could, and it wasn’t long until she discovered the marvelous leather traditions of Japan and Italy. It was the art that stemmed from her home country that made the biggest impression, however.

Argentine craftsmanship

When Argentina’s global trade boom took place, leather became more and more valuable, and an sought-after industry was born. Artisan leathercraft was enriched by traditions brought over by Italian and Spanish immigrants. Today, though mass-produced leather is exported globally on a huge scale, the handcrafted leather industry survives thanks to small, family-owned workshops where skills are passed down generations.

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In her search, Busso visited the leather artisans of Buenos Aires. As proud, passionate teachers, they shared their secrets about details that could only be created by hand. She learned that selecting the best pieces of leather for a product is a ceremonial process. The result? A complete change of perception.

From the sketchbook to action

Adding up Argentine origin, Italian roots, extensive travelling, some disagreement with the abovementioned orthodox etiquette and her life coach’s advice, Busso used her actuary skills to create the ideal handbag for a sophisticated woman: handcrafted, elegant, functional and with world-class quality.

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But it wasn’t just about the product. The dream was about doing things in a different way.

Carla Busso Handbag Atelier is run by a diverse group of people, from corporate executives to prestigious fashion photographers. A team of unique souls, each with their own purpose, but all passionate about the project. Call it years of hard work, chance, or cosmic alignment - an idea spread between friends, across borders, and voilá! You have a British-Argentinian-Italian dream team that creates handbags infused with the calm of classics, spicy modernity, and a dose of synchronicity.

carlabusso.co.uk

Photography by Lobo Velar

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