East End leather goods label Stentorian has rebranded to Yudu, making the same sustainable and minimalist designs as its previous identity and soon expanding into clothing and footwear.
Stentorian Leather rebrands to Yudu
Sarah and Rob Scammell started making leather goods while living near the achingly beautiful coastal scenery of Port Willunga.
Working predominantly with kangaroo leather to craft exquisite bags, wallets and belts, Sarah says the colour palette she works with is inspired by nature.
“The different colours of the clay that come through at the beach inspires the colours. The cashew and the off-blacks and browns,” she says.
After mostly crafting objects for family and friends, just over a year ago Sarah and Rob opened Stentorian Leather, a retail store in Ebenezer Place, just off Rundle Street East which also sells online.
Sarah says the move to bricks and mortar in the East End was the right decision.
“When we opened the shop, it accelerated everything for us,” she says.
“We felt like, all of a sudden, we had more of a presence. I think it created a bit of stability for the brand.
“People thought we’d been around a lot longer than we had.”
This week, the duo has rebranded from Stentorian Leather to Yudu.
The reason, at least by Sarah’s telling, is simple.
“Four letters are easier to remember,” she says.
Yudu still operates in its Ebenezer Place shop, among the buzz of the restaurants and cafés.
“We wanted somewhere that drew a lot of people, so that we didn’t have to work too hard to bring people through the door,” she says.
Rob and Sarah’s workshop and studio is at the rear of the premises. All the items are hand-made in the space, stitched using an industrial sewing machine that whirrs through the supple leather.
“We use vegetable tanned leather, which is a more environmentally friendly tanning process,” Sarah says.
Having searched Australia-wide for a veg leather supplier, Sarah and Rob eventually came across Vacel Leather in Wingfield, which sources sustainably as a by-product of kangaroo culls.
The two companies were a match on many levels.
“We found it quite difficult to find nicely finished leathers that fit with our aesthetic,” Sarah says.
“With Vacel, being able to [have] input into the colours and finishes has been really helpful for us. Most of the colours we have we couldn’t really find anywhere else.”
Yudu’s handbags are an exercise in modern minimalism. Investing in a piece from the leather goods label is likely to pay off for decades.
One of Yudu’s newer designs includes a sculptural handle, providing a playful counterpoint to the utilitarian design of the bag. Such artistic feats are made possible with Yudu’s use of kangaroo leather.
“You can do a lot more with kangaroo leather. It’s super thin, but also really durable and strong,” Sarah says.
“If you want to get around tight corners, it’s quite malleable.”
At the moment, Sarah and Robert also work with cowhide for their messenger bags and belts, but their intention is to move solely to kangaroo.
The Yudu shopfront also acts as a retail store for other brands, with the shelves holding ceramic pieces by local artists, alongside clothing from Melbourne brands Muse the Label and shoes from Post Sole Studio.
“The labels that we’ve chosen to stock have a similar ethos to us,” Sarah says.
“We feel like our values and our aesthetic align. And the products work well together.”
Sarah says although the retail space ticked every box, she and Rob, who have a background in architecture and corporate finance respectively, “took a leap of faith” signing the lease last year when many retailers were closing.
“We opened in October, so it was only a couple of months before Christmas,” she says.
“We enjoyed the Christmas rush, which we knew was going to be busy, but we had no idea how busy it would be.”
They kept the momentum going in the quieter winter months (and when borders were shut), by ramping up their social media activity to drive sales to their website.
Their plan now is to expand the number of local and interstate retailers stocking their range.
Sarah says they eventually want to include their own clothing and footwear designs and hone their business focus, expanding “from being more of a high-end brick and mortar store to being more of a fashion label.”
You can browse the current Yudu range, and other small-maker pieces, at the East End store, located at shop 2/4—10 Ebenezer Place.