WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BEGIN HATTON HENRY
My grandfather and great-grandfather were saddle makers, and I've always been fascinated with leather. It has such a unique quality that is very nostalgic for me (and many others!). I've always been creative and also, for a time, sold vintage leather handbags and boots in Houston. The convergence of these interests materialized after I was able to purchase my industrial sewing machine and really explore sewing leather. We began selling goods at local events the following Christmas, and the rest is history!
WHY DO YOU CALL AUSTIN HOME
I was born & raised in Austin. I recently returned after 7 years in Houston. I always knew I'd come back, it was just a matter of time.
FAVORITE SONG/ARTIST/ALBUM FOR A SPARK OF CREATIVITY
Lately, I've been into so much new music! It's hard not to with SXSW. If I'm working in the studio all day, however, I usually default to Andrew Bird, Bill Callahan or Devendra Banhart. I can't seem to get enough of those guys, after all these years.
GO TO MID-DAY SNACK or ROUTINE FOR CREATIVE FUEL
I'm an avid believer that running keeps me sane. I'm on the fence as to how good they are for me, but I'm a little addicted to Complete Cookies. I love cuties and almonds for a snack. And coffee all day. And if I'm really lucky and can squeeze it in, a luxurious 20-minute nap.
WHERE DO YOU DESIGN BEST? EX: HOME, STUDIO, NATURE, ETC.
I find inspiration strikes me at the oddest times, like when I see the intersection of two materials in architecture or art, and more often as I'm falling asleep. I do my best final designing in the studio, however, when I have the materials right in front of me.
BIGGEST DEBATE OF ALL: COFFEE or TEA, BE SPECIFIC ;)
COFFEE. I'm weird though, I make a french press most mornings, pour a cup, and pop an ice cube in it. Since I'm often on my way out the door for a run first thing in the morning, I don't want to wait for it to cool!
WHO DO YOU FOLLOW FOR INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION
I'm a huge interior design fan and love to drool over Homestead Seattle, Maven Collective, and Lonny, to name a few.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT SO FAR OF HATTON HENRY
There have been many! Notably, being emailed by Texas Monthly to be featured in the Made in Texas column was a pretty fantastic moment. It took me a minute to realize what I was looking at because the only part of the email that mentioned the magazine was the sender's email address. It was during what was a bit of a hard time personally, and you can bet I completely lost my sh!t. Haha.
HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR BRAND STANDS OUT
We keep our items very simple, and this is to emphasize the gorgeous leathers we use. What I feel sets us apart is our attention to detail. For example, the painstaking attention to stitching, reinforcement of pressure points, strap lengths that ensure ergonomic comfort, etc. We lovingly prepare and finish each product, knowing that each item is going to be around for a long time. It thrills us to no end to see our customers collecting Hatton Henry pieces, telling their friends about our line, and proudly posting their items to social media. This is the best testament we could ask for as to the quality of our products. We feel this is due to those special little details.
WHO HAS HAD THE MOST CREATIVE INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE
My mother has been a huge creative influence. She evidently hit her fashion prime in the 70s, and as a little kid I remember her always in beat-up denim, an awesome vintage tee, and carrying a well-loved and well-worn leather bag. I still raid her closet to this day.
HOW HAS SOCIAL HELPED YOUR BRAND
OMG We wouldn't have the following we have today if it weren't for Instagram. In 2013, it was single-handedly the best way to share your business online, and for free! I hate to say it, but those days seem to be over, on that platform anyways :(
TELL US ABOUT THE QUALITY OF MATERIALS YOU CHOOSE TO USE IN YOUR LEATHER GOODS
Hands down, our very favorite leathers to work with are oil-tanned and pull-up leathers. I'm a HUGE fan of the beat of leather look in bags, boots, furniture, etc. This look is best achieved with high quality leather, oil tanned pull-up leather IMHO. Quick lesson: Pull-up leathers have been colored with aniline dyes that are impregnated with natural-based oils and/or waxes instead of being coated with paints and pigments. The oils and waxes tend to darken the original aniline dye coloration, but "pull up" the lighter color when stretched and pulled. Oil tanned leathers have a natural and rugged look, and are used to manufacture hiking and mountain boots, boat shoes and tack, furniture and even clothing items such as cowboy hats, chaps, etc. The use of natural and/or synthetic oils during the tanning process gives it a high water resistance quality.
HOW IMPORTANT IS SHOPPING LOCAL TO YOU
Quite! When we aren't shopping locally and making efforts to support local businesses, farms, entertainers, etc. we're shopping second hand!
HOW HAS THE AUSTIN COMMUNITY SUPPORTED YOU
We have felt very welcomed by the Austin community! While I am from Austin, I began this business in Houston and was a little nervous about how Austin would be for us. While Houston still accounts for a large percentage of our sales, our Austin business has been steadily growing. The wonderful community of event organizers, business owners, and others have made us feel very welcome. We've been lucky enough to participate in some legendary local events, such as Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Blue Genie Art Bazaar, SXSan Jose, Le Garage Sale, CraftHer and many more!
WOULD YOU BE OPEN TO A DESIGN COLLAB WITH A LOCAL AUSTIN ARTIST
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT HATTON HENRY
My name is not Hatton Henry ;) It's Vanessa Vaught. My grandfather and great grandfather were well-known East Texas Saddle-makers George Hatton & George Henry Vaught, aka G.H. Vaught & Son. Since that business name didn't sound to me like a name one would associate with women's leather goods, I chose Hatton Henry, their middle names.
AUSTIN LOCAL INSIDER RECOMMENDATIONS
FAVORITE LOCAL FOOD TRUCK
FAVORITE LOCAL CURATED BOUTIQUE
Limbo Jewelry - one of our very favorite stockists!
FAVORITE LOCAL COFFEE SHOP(S)
Bouldin Creek Cafe (does that still count as a coffee shop?)
MUST-SEE RECOMMENDATION(S) FOR THOSE TRAVELING TO AUSTIN
Barton Springs, Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail (my second home), the Greenbelt.
WHERE CAN SUPPORTERS FIND HATTON HENRY
Limbo Jewelry/Triple Z Threadz (South Congress), and many other shops nationwide. See https://hattonhenry.com/pages/stockists for more!