Leather designer finds inspiration in Somerset

Frances George was set up in Bristol by Sarah Edwards, who designs and creates bespoke, premium quality, hand-crafted leather goods. Specialising in hand-stitched leatherwork, Sarah set up the business soon after leaving Jimmy Choo Couture in London, where she worked for a year and a half.

But when her partner settled in a new job in Taunton, the couple decided to move closer to his work and so Sarah opted to relocate her business to Somerset too.

Inward investment organisation Somerset 3D was initially recommended by contacts at her partner’s work, so she got in touch and had a chat about her requirements. As a result and thanks to a comprehensive knowledge of the area and facilities, Inward Investment Manager Gerard Tucker was able to assist by suggesting a number of suitable locations.

Sarah’s studio is now based at the creative hub that is the Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre in Stoke St Gregory, just outside Taunton. She says that she is enjoying the atmosphere and benefits that the Somerset community brings to both her and her business.

“It’s a really lovely location and there’s much more of a community and ‘local feel’ here compared to being in a larger city. Everyone seems to have a network of people they can put you in touch with and everyone wants to help, which I have found incredibly helpful in terms of developing my business.”

Sarah’s commute to work is now only about 15 minutes, although she spends a lot of time in Bristol and London as well, as the majority of her clients are London-based. “I’m really impressed with the train service; I can travel to London just as quickly from here as I can from Bristol, which means that I can still easily visit my clients.”

Summing up the benefits of being in Somerset, Sarah commented, “The supportive community makes a huge difference to my business. I love working alongside other craftspeople at the Willows & Wetlands Visitor Centre; I’m passionate about quality craftsmanship and to be based somewhere with such a history and heritage is so important. Everyone is so proud of it as well, which is really inspiring.”

Frances George is an appointment only service where everything is made to order and entirely by hand. Popular products include bags, belts and wallets. Hand-stitched leather sandals will soon be available, and a small collection of leather goods and samples are also for sale at Sarah’s workshop.

Sarah says that much of her work ethos comes from her time at Jimmy Choo Couture. “It was all about quality – using the highest quality materials to craft beautiful shoes to the best of your ability, and making sure the entire experience was perfect for the customer. That is what I’ve taken through to Frances George.


* images courtesy of Max McClure


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