Nichols hand crafted leather items are the product of over ten years as a luxury leather crafts man in the traditional leather goods industry. Rory Nichols, the owner and craftsman of Nichols brand, has worked for various luxury manufacturers throughout the last decade after graduating from The London College of Fashion in Cordwainers Footwear design.
‘After graduating I was offered a role as Trainee Maker at a startup brand called Nat Boyd. Their goal was to design and make leather products in-house at their studio in Fulham, London. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to transfer and diversify the skills I had learnt at university to different products [bags and accessories]’.
Rory spent the next three-and-a-half-years designing and creating high-end accessories covered in Nat Boyd's signature wicker pattern that was printed onto calf skin at their London studio. The brand had a lot of success very quickly, getting into stores such as Harrods and Liberty’s. After his time at Nat Boyd Rory moved from Trainee Maker to Junior Craftsperson at Dunhill London.
‘My time at Dunhill was extremely valuable to me as a maker as the workshop Dunhill has in London solely for their apex products; they specialise in making their most prestigious items such as top frame briefcases, lid over briefcases and bespoke pieces using the highest quality British leathers, including Bakers bridal hides and traditional veg tan hides. I was extremely lucky to have been able to work alongside and learn from the few senior crafts people that worked there who had been in the industry for many decades and who between them had worked as crafts people for the likes of Hermes, Yves St Laurent, Tanner Kroul and many more. Their skills were second to none and they were extremely generous with sharing their knowledge’.
After gaining vast amounts of new skills and insights into traditional briefcase making Rory left Dunhill to manage the medium leather goods section at the newly invested in RBJ Simpsons London. Simpsons was a company that had been around for many years also
making luxury items similar to that of Dunhill and it had just had new ownership take over that were looking to inject some new energy into the company and create a new state-of-the-art workshop in London. The takeover was funded by the William Asprey and Sons group, formerly of Asprey London, a company entrenched in the English luxury leather goods industry. ‘I spent three years managing the medium leather goods department at Simpsons, and like my previous employers was another great opportunity to learn and experiment with leather craft techniques. This also taught me a great deal about organising batch productions for wholesale clientele’.
‘After spending the last ten years making products for other brands I felt it was time to create something for myself and bring a new, modern feel to the style of products that I’ve made throughout my career. I love the traditional techniques and products that I’ve made at all of the brands I’ve worked with, but feel there is room for similarly styled products with perhaps what some would see as a more contemporary aesthetic. I leased my first studio three years ago and have not looked back since.
My brand has grown steadily since launching and I’m proudly stocked in many stores across Europe and Asia. The next phase of the Nichols brand will be to start an in-house training programme that I hope will enable new, upcoming crafters and students to learn the skills that I was generously taught throughout my career thus far.