We began small, working from home at first, before taking the plunge, moving into a tiny studio, followed shortly thereafter by another move into our current studio, a great space with plenty of room for expansion on the outskirts of Cape Town CBD. With Backgrounds in the arts and media, industrial design, engineering, clothing manufacture and retail, our small, but highly skilled team share a collective passion for attention to detail, simplicity and making things that have soul and a story behind their creation.
Head seamstress, Thembeka with 19 years of leather experience has put forward immaculate work on her pieces and her daughter, Zanele head hand-stitcher and newly appointed quality controller, shows the same devotion to her craft.They are supported by Phumla and Manelisi on hand-stitching and finishing. Keeping the wheels rolling on the floor as our Production manager is Brian and our young designer Gavin who provides accurate and efficient design w.r.t product and graphics.
Our Manufacturing Philosophy
Our approach is combined with the very best elements of ancient leather craftsmanship with modern technology and design sensibilities, to create products that are built to last for generations. Like the MIYA-DAIKU master craftsmen, we allow the material to determine the final outcome, leaving any naturally occurring imperfections to form part of the finished product in an aesthetically pleasing way. Due to this approach and the handmade nature of our products, slight variations in finish do occur and we celebrate them, especially when held up against all the homogenous, mass produced stuff out there. This, coupled with the organic nature of quality leather, produces what we call "design details"that can NEVER be repeated. Every one of our products is authentic and unique and that is what keeps it so exciting for us, and for so many of our valued and loyal customers.
" FOR A LONG TIME IN JAPAN THERE HAVE BEEN MASTER CRAFTSMEN CALLED MIYA-DAIKU." They are professional carpenters who specialize in shrine and temple architecture. they are highly skilled and known for making full use of each piece of wood, they are able to see its full potential instead of seeing it as a defect and throwing it away." unknown
The life of an RU product starts with the sourcing of the leather and/or fabric from local tanneries. We are proud that our products are 100% South African, and confident that they can stand up in terms of quality and design to any leather products out there. After we've sourced our skins, each and every piece is oiled and hand-dyed with four layers of natural leather dye according to the finish we are after. This process is laborious, but it imparts a richer, deeper colour to the leather which cannot be matched by any factory or machine process. Next, we apply a leather dressing, which not only seals on the colour, but also adds a vividness and sheen to the final article.
Thereafter, the different pieces of the product being made is cut, sorted and finally hand-stitched together using the age-old saddle stitch, which uses two needles at the same time for maximum strength and quality.
This slow approach to manufacture is why we can confidently offer a ten-year guarantee on all our products.
RESEARCH UNIT STUDIO