Leather, leather and everything leather. From motorcycle rebels to high-end designers, it has long been a vital material to man. And when two ‘Dayaks’ - Samir and Izzat confessed their fetish for leather, Reservoir Dayak was then born.
Inspired by the Navajo and fueled by tribal cultures, these guys challenged themselves to create their own leather crafts after a memorable trip from Thailand.
We’re fascinated by just having an ordinary void deck to work on, the non-typical workspace for a person to use, has turned into something which inspires them to build these leather product.
“You come up with an idea. Leave the Dayak work to us.”
Since then, their leather crafts has been spread through words of mouth and went viral across the social network. In this curated session, we had a chance to speak with Izzat as he tells us how it all started.
Nookmag (N): Hi Izzat! First thing first. Why the name ‘Reservoir Dayak’?
Izzat (I): As we both grew up here in Bedok Reservoir, I feel that it’s appropriate to have our hometown to put as the name. And the word Dayak resembles tribe which defines the whole leather crafting vibe. I think it’s a mutual feeling between us to say that there’s a dayak in us.
N: What is the concept of ‘RSVR DYK’?
I: Our concept is to create the traditional dayak feel and seamlessly integrate it with the modern society. Our strictly build-to-order products cater to a niche group of people who not only loves leather but also, appreciate exclusive designs. We want our customer to feel a sense of satisfaction as this is their design choice. They could pick and choose from our design templates or they could start building a bag from scratch. As our saying goes, “You come up with an idea. Leave the Dayak work to us.”
N: Cool! That compliments the whole feel. Well now.. about this workspace you’re working at, anything in particular that’s special about it?
I: There’s a name to it actually. We call it Dayak Council. This void deck is spacious with all the basic essentials of a workspace. A very nice quiet place to work through the night. Basically a nice chill out space with very little distractions and no complaints. *laughs*
N: What triggered or inspire you to start this business?
I: During our trip in Thailand on 2011, we saw a man doing leather craft on the busy streets of Phuket with minimal tools and a small workspace at a dirt cheap prices.. we thought to ourself why not do it back home as leather craft is quite pricey in Singapore. So when we came back we did research on what it takes to be a leather crafters with good workmanship skills. Samir went to a leather class for a short period and he taught me the basic. From there it was much more of a daily practice. We also took inspiration from Japanese and American leather crafters.
N: Interesting. So what are the challenges that you faced when you guys started?
I: It wasn’t easy at first as we had to get the kind of tools and materials needed to start and we didn’t know if it’s even available here. So we got our stuffs online and then slowly we found better sources here and there and we hit full gear. We owe a lot to Encik Rahmat, a well-known leather crafter here in Singapore. He has given us a major helping hand in the art of leather making. From our early days of making a simple pouch, lighter holder and leather reins with help from friends, we now are making mens and ladies wallets, handbags, hand phone cases and many other unique stuff such as fuel bottle holster and walkie-talkie holster.
N: Walkie-talkie holster? Now that’s rad. Any petty customers or setbacks that you faced with orders or design that customers came up with?
I: We try to cater with the best that we could, even with little experience, most of our customers are willing and put that trust in us. So far our customers love the completion of our product with good quality and detailed workmanship finish.
N: It’s great to hear that you guys are emphasizing on quality over quantity. We hope it wil always stay that way. Any last words from Reservoir Dayak?
I: We hope to be a registered company in the near future and hope people would appreciate our work. We are trying to be perfect in our craft but we know true perfection has to be imperfect. Foolish as it sounds, it’s true.
Find out more about Reservoir Dayak on their Facebook page here.
Interview by Afiq Ayub, Photos by Sulhan S.