Interview: Bear Cub Leather

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Credit: Bear Cub Leather

  1. What made you go from an admirer of fashion to a designer?

Sophia: For me it’s the artist in me, When I see something that I love I start to think of what I could design that’s coming from that admired fashion.

Manny: My mind is always working on how can I make something easier yet still functional. Leather work is a medium that allows me to address every day needs and create functional pieces for lifetime use.

  1. What is your major inspiration for your designs?

Sophia: Honestly, every designed is inspired by something I want to wear as an accessory or I can see someone else using. So far, every product I have designed has been well received (THANK GOD!). If I am not 100% sure I don’t go for it.

Manny: My major inspiration comes from how small details, and minimal design can have a great impact. I want our pieces to fit seamlessly into your life while still providing everyday function.

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Credit: Bear Cub Leather

  1. How do you define success?

Sophia: I define success by journey, it’s about the steps. Many see success when they’ve reach the top and focus just on that. While yes getting there is what we want there’s more victories in the steps to get there.

Manny: The definition of success has changed for me recently as Bear Cub Leather has taken off. I once thought success was in the praise of many but now I realize that is not the case. Success to me has become doing what you love daily in any part of your life. I believe that when you take this inward approach you find so much more fulfillment and joy in life.

  1. What genre would you call your designs?

Manny and Sophia: Our genre would be described as refined classics with functional design.

5) What is your target audience?

Manny and Sophia:  A lot of times when people think of handmade leather goods they immediately think of something very rugged and rustic but we want our good to be fashionable and functional. Our target audience would be anyone looking for everyday staple pieces that are built to last. We want you to be able to go from office, to night out or family time without having to blink an eye.

6) What is your icon in fashion?

One of my major influences as to how we approach fashion would be Kanye West. Kanye as a music producer always amazed me by how he could sample another piece of music, deconstruct it and reuse it another manner for his music. We look to take the same approach to leather fashion accessories, we want to deconstruct something that may already exist and reuse it a new functional way.

7) Who is your favorite designer?

It is  really hard to peg this down but staying within the handmade leather realm there is beautiful work being done by a gentleman in Tokyo, Japan who goes by R atelier & Co. his Vegtan leather shoes are perfectly simple and stylish.

8) Do you prefer to make tailored or ready to wear?

While a  majority of our line is ready to wear accessories we enjoy tailoring our items to any of our customers when possible. Our desire is that every customer feels their purchase is a one of a kind piece unique to them because it has been handmade.

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Credit: Bear Cub Leather

9) What has been the greatest moment in your career?

Our greatest accomplishment would be how Sophia’s original design of our totes has become our flagship product that has taken off like wildfire! One of our favorite moments would be when at the Sawyer Flea pop up we had a customer purchase our Sophia tote and proceed to put her Fendi Purse inside of our tote. She said “I never buy purses that aren’t Fendi but I could leave this bag of your behind!”

10) What are your goals in the next year?

We look to expand our collection of everyday items and soon have various stores in the Houston area carrying our goods! Also create collection of leather Goods that are a collaboration between various Houston Makers!

11) What advice would you give to a new creative trying to succeed?

Believe in yourself and your design, be confident in what you create and openly share your journey with others.

12) Fashion is all about collaboration, what do you look for in a collaborator; be it for photography or in models?

I first look for someone who is genuine in their love for their craft and exhibits a heartfelt kindness towards all those they work with. Having the opportunity to mix different mediums in our work always results in one of kind pieces!

13) Any quotes you want to share?

What every your hands to do, do it with all thy might.

14) BLT club sandwhich or PB and J?

PB and J is the business!!

15) First thought of the morning?

Must I wake haha we’re bears we love sleep.

16) Deep Dish or Thin Crust?

Deep Dish from Star Pizza

17) What are you doing on a Friday night?

On off days we’re creating & others we are volunteering our time with youth of our local church. We gather for bible studies or game nights.

18) What do you wear to the grocery store?

Sophia: Jeans, tshirt and uggs if I could wear my uggs anywhere I would. haha

Manny: Graphic Tee from our great friends over at Grits Co, Jeans and some Chelsea tan leather boots made in Ecuador from Moo-chila.

Interviewer: Charlie Ewing