Wooding and Becker, established in 2016, are fast gaining a reputation for high quality bespoke work with canvas and leather. With a very distinctive style, Annet’s products are easy to recognise and also easy on the eye.
I got together with Annet Becker to find out more about how her business concept began and where it has taken her.
Where did W&B begin?
My husband is a Land Rover enthusiast and I started with mainly making heavy duty canvas tool rolls for him and all his friends that drive old Land Rovers. On seeing that I enjoyed it and that there was a demand, I bought a heavy duty industrial sewing machine and after making several tool rolls. This progressed to designing and making a few bags. Word of mouth quickly had me making all sorts of things from custom tent bags to kids tee-pees. I wanted to make bespoke, high quality items that you can’t find in any store. The kind of items that will last someone a very long time, kind of how they used to make things.
What do you design and manufacture?
My regular range of products consists of the following:
- Tote bag
- Everyday Bag
- Cross Body Bag
- Pencil Case
- Carry All
- Zipper Pouch
I also have a range of made to order products which includes:
- All of the above – in the combination of leather and canvas you want, as well as a lining of your choosing
- Lunch bag
- Wine cooler
- Diary cover
- Laptop sleeve
- Tool rolls – 3 sizes
- Man Bag
And then lastly I do a lot of custom work – laptop bags, backpacks etc. I am quite flexible in that pretty much whatever clients wants, I can design and make for them. I usually ask them for a rough idea and then I work with their idea to create the final product. W&B also continuously works on new designs to add to our range.
What do you make the products from?
For all the items made we use 510gm 100% cotton. The cotton canvas is teflon coated and genuine pull up leather. Pull up leather is treated with a number of oils, which makes the leather soft and super durable as well as easy to care for. I try to use the best quality hardware available as well as heavy duty thread on the outside of the bags and upholstery thread on the inside. It is much stronger than regular thread. When I need to make straps I use vegetable tanned leather that I dye with coffee and then oil to give it a nice warm natural look.
I can also wax any of the items. This is done with a combination of paraffin and bees wax which is painted onto the fabric and then melted in. This makes the item much more water resistant as well as easier to keep clean. It does also give the canvas a more weathered and worn look, which is really popular.
At this point a lady walks past and Annet exclaims with excitement “oh my word, that’s one of my bags!” It is so lovely to see someone who is so happy to see someone with their product.
What inspires you?
Putting together different combinations of canvas and leather and the inners. I cut a few sets and lay them out and then work with them all until I have found combinations that are pleasing to the eye.
As a business woman on the Meander, how have you found it starting up a business?
Not a lot different that starting any other really. Being web based makes it easier. I have also had a lot of encouragement from other small business’s in the area.
Any tips for other growing businesses?
- perseverance is important
- time management is essential
- where to start with pricing…. pick a price and start. If you don’t, you will never sell a thing! You can always adjust along the way.
Any unusual or funny stories?
Getting a call to stitch a canvas canopy for a truck for a bachelor party and getting it done before the deadline.
What is next for W&B in the pipeline?
I have a few new bag designs in the making as well as a potential duffel and backpack. Watch this space 🙂
Where can people find Wooding and Becker products?
Currently I sell through word of mouth, Facebook, Instagram and my Website. We courier to anywhere in South Africa. We had a very successful pop up shop with 4 other Midlands craft people last year November and December in Howick. The Lilac Crane in Nottingham Road stocks a small range of our products as well.
Thank you Annet Becker for your time and for telling me about your lovely products and the care that goes into them.
Until then…..See you on the road!