With an idea to turn his leather crafting hobby into profit, Hirzi Hamid decided to turn Velvyne into a full-fledged business.
Velvyne is a design brand that focuses on using leather as a medium where anything can be created with mainly minimalist designs with old-world crafting.
The entrepreneur created the leather crafting brand focusing on creating quality leather goods that are made to last. He made sure the handcrafted designs are durable and would not fail or break down easily compared to mass-produced items.
Inspiration for the business came when the 24-year-old was still in university and wanted to make extra income by selling wallets that he designed for his friends and friends.
His first designs gained positive feedback which drove him to create his own signature brand.
“After graduating back in 2020, I decided to restart my leathercraft hobby as a legitimate business. I picked the name Velvyne, pronounced as Vel-Veen, as it sounds chic and sophisticated while still rolling off the tongue easily,” said the youth entrepreneur.
Running the business as a one-man job from the office that is called his bedroom.
The business is being operated with skills Hirzi Hamid had picked up here and there from designing, handcrafting, photography as well as customer service.
Velvyne offers handmade leather essentials that the designer has put his own twists on and currently, it is mainly minimalist wallets that are specially crafted for Bruneian notes, unlike others that are usually too small.
“The wallets range from $75 for an ID holder to $265 for a redesigned long wallet. They are all offered through the MTO (Made to Order) program. Something is always upgrading every MTO whether it be a new design release, better craftsmanship or packaging,” said the leather craftsman, Hirzi Hamid.
The brand is currently in collaboration with Ninetytree, local wood products designer for the beautiful packaging of Velvyne products the customers receive when joining the MTO program.
Leathers that are used by Velvyne are only the top-of-the-shelf leathers from certified tanneries in Italy and what differentiates it from other leathers is that full-grain leathers are of the highest quality grade of leather, it is the uppermost part of the skin that is the toughest and has a natural feel that ages well.
“As far as I know, Velvyne is not the first business to offer handmade leather products in Brunei, but it strives to grow and be at the forefront with its designs. I try to make the designs consistent and true to the brand so that it is recognisable anywhere,” said the 24-year-old.
Velvyne products are ideal for those looking for a unique gift to give to their loved ones or themselves since the MTO allows for personalisation.
Currently, the brand markets and sells through Instagram only, and the products are only available through the MTO program and are not ready in stock.
“Being only online for now, I understood that product photography is important to show the items so that people can imagine holding them. And fortunately, marketing through Instagram is doable. By using sponsored ads, I’m able to reach potential customers,” said the designer.
The brand will introduce more designs in the future and hopes to expand Velvyne’s portfolio.
Not only that, but Hirzi recently launched the ‘Wallet of the Week, where he would release random designs and limited edition colours every week to bridge the gap between in-stock products and MTO.
In the long run, the entrepreneur aims to venture into more refined and luxurious work like handbags and watch straps that carry Velvyne’s design philosophies and also one day to hopefully open up a physical store to better serve buyers and also conduct classes to teach leathercrafting.
The founder of Velvyne hopes that the brand’s voice will one day be big enough to tell that Bruneians have always been able to create things that they are proud of when they put their hearts into it and with this business he hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs in Brunei to take a chance.
Head over to Velvyne’s Instagram @velvyne_leather to see what products they have in store and the highest quality of leather that they offer to the buyers.
This article was first published on 11 December 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 171 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN