“I was only in school when I started crafting leather to make stuff. It was a hobby at that time” muses Xie Hui.
This 28 year old Singaporean is a successful entrepreneur and an inspiration to many. He chose a non-conventional direction for his career and is making it big in the leather industry. Today, his company – ‘Stone For Gold’ (established in 2008) has a posh clientele, including the likes of BMW, Pandora, Ray-Ban, HP, DBS and Samsonite among others. They also conduct frequent leather crafts workshops, which happen to be quite popular in Singapore.
Pure Passion and Consistent Perseverance
When all this began, Hui was just a kid. He loved making stuff and on special occasions, he would make crafts for his loved ones instead of buying them presents. His first sale happened when he once gifted a key pouch to his friend who liked it so much that he suggested Hui to make more for sale. Hui, eventually, sold his very first key pouch for 35 bucks. Today key fobs are a specialization at Stone For Gold.
Hui’s story is such an inspiring one for all those who want to pursue their dreams and make something of themselves. He tells me that when he decided that this is what he wanted to do , he faced not one but many challenges. One of the major ones being, the lack of awareness about leather industry. “It is extremely scant today, imagine what it was like 10 years ago”, he exclaims.
Additionally, there was parental pressure, lack of resources and unavailability of raw materials. There were times when it became difficult to sustain and he almost lost hope. But, he did not give up. He would pick up his bike and run errands to get whatever he needed.
Gradually, the sale picked up and he started making good pocket money. In no time, Hui started getting consignments from shops. He had over 10 consignments with different shops by the age of 19.
Xie Hui’s passion for leather crafts was such that even when he was in the army, he did not quit the art. In fact, he would start working in the camp itself.
“They knew that I could not be stopped”, he laughs.
Hui is a self-taught artisan. He believes that the inclination for this art comes naturally. He taught himself from books magazines and by observing old-timers in the Geylang area. Despite a lot of skepticism around his career choice and all obstacles, Hui finally managed to have his own workshop in a one-room studio. Today, his office has evolved into a double-storey workshop cum studio space where he works with his equally talented partner Jeffrey along-with other team members.
I ask Hui about the biggest inspiration in his life and his reply amazes me. He says “I feel blessed that we are creating something unique and I am happy everyday when I come to work. But, my best days are when I am walking on the streets and I spot someone wearing something made by me.”
I look at illustrious watches, trendy phone covers and funky key fogs lying around the studio as we talk. I’m intrigued by the unique designs. They seem to fall somewhere between Rock ‘n’ Roll and Gothic. Hui tells me that his designs are influenced by Native American styles and he loves working on Tribal & Style Punk.
How about gifting someone special a “Made In Singapore, By You Leather Handicraft“? Enroll for a workshop with these guys and you are set. Or, buy amazing handmade authentic leather crafts from their website.