// What's the inspiration behind Ortu leather?//
La Revolution francaise in L.A.! (laughs).
No, seriously... Well I think for one, growing up in Paris, early on, I was exposed to all kinds of fashion. There were lots of small underground boutiques, featuring local unknown designers and their creations. Designers were coming out with pretty edgy, sometimes provocative clothes. It was really special to witness all this creation, this risk taking. And I think that's how, early on, I got a taste for Fashion, "la mode" as we call it there.
I'm not a designer or anything but I think with Ortu leather, I wanted to recreate this sense of creative community. My vision was to build a leather contracting business that would serve and bring together an existing community of fashion minded designers and entrepreneurs, here in the Los Angeles Fashion District. And by bring together, I mean connecting the right people with the right project: whether it be a retailer for a fashion label, a showroom for a designer, or a costume maker for a movie studio. Of course, we weren't going to be the first leather garment production, we knew that. But, something I was big on, from the beginning, was to create this "lieu de vie," this place to gather, meet, create, exchange and make things happen. Not just some factory with a cash register! Every day, we meet the most interesting people here at Ortu and we feed off each other's creativity.
And today still, this is very important to us. It's part of our DNA! That's why, every now and then, you'll see us hold open house days for fashion schools, and I make it a point to answer every single student's question. I've always had respect for those who want to learn or create, it's a positive thing and I want to help them in any way I can. Also, leathercraft is a noble art. You can't just cheat and buy your way into it, you have to really hone your skills, and it takes time, like every good thing.
// How did you get started creating it? //
I think, from day one, we placed a focus on each other's strengths, and ran with it. As partners, Daniel, Frank and myself: we all bring diverse experience and specialties and complement each other really well.
For example, Frank has 25+ years of experience in the Fashion business, in Paris France first, then here in the Los Angeles Fashion District. He's collaborated with dozens of national fashion brands, launched his own labels and worked hand in hand with retailers like Barney's, Saks, Macy's, etc. He's been there through thick and thin and I think, better than anyone, he understands all the ingredients needed to launch a fashion line: production costs and logistics, showroom, trade shows, product placement, buzz and so on. That's where we stand out. We address what happens next: the "why", the "how" - We're not just here to make a sale, it's long term. That's why our partnerships typically last years.
Basically, we care and we love what we do. So, when you ask how we got started... In reality, we simply started with our passion and knowledge. A cutting edge leather jacket, a happy client getting a sale and recognition... Then the thing feeds on itself: reorders, referrals, word of mouth. I'm sorry there's really no secret sauce to reveal here! It just takes a ton of dedication, patience and hard work.