Tasmania is a wild place, an island constantly thrashed by the freshest winds on earth. During our too-short weekend visit, we felt the warmest sunshine we’d had in months (thanks Melbourne!) and only two days later, we were driving on snow-slicked streets! Luckily, our drive into the mountains to visit leather-worker, The Roadie, near Richmond was presided over by a beaming sun.
We met Masae at her home studio in the foothills of Mount Wellington, outside Hobart, where she warmly welcomed us into her gorgeous leather-working studio for tea and a tour.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up around 7am and have breakfast. I make lunch for my husband and myself. I walk the dogs. Around 9 or 9:30 I start working. First, I check emails, then I focus on making until mid-day. I’ll have lunch and check my favourite websites.. Then I’ll go back to making until 4:00pm or 4:30pm. I’ll make dinner and my husband will come home. I try not to work at night. Day time is the best time to work. I make fewer mistakes during the day. I used to work all day but I got a pain in my wrist, so now I take breaks and do yoga. We got to sleep around 10. I don’t work so much on the weekend anymore unless I have a big order. It’s important to take time for yourself.
How did The Roadie get started?
I used to work at a big company, an investment bank, for 11 years. After all that time, I didn’t like the job. I did it because I was educated at a good uni, and it was what was expected, but it always felt wrong. If the company goes bankrupt, it will be difficult to get another similar job, so I thought I’d work for myself instead. I wanted to live in the countryside.
I met my husband at the company. He was 7 years younger than me and I was his boss! We decided to go traveling all around Japan. We met many artists and musicians. They were happy to teach us. We learned dying and pottery. They let us stay with them in their homes. It was great but it wasn’t really something I wanted for my life. I had lots of points from business travel, so we decided to keep traveling. We went to Thailand and took lessons in leather working and it was then that I felt, this is what was missing. This is what I want for my life.
What is great about Tasmania?
Nice people! They help us so much. My friend helped me write my About page and profile. Also the air is clean here. Because of the geography, Tasmania is the only land for many miles, so the wind blows across only the sea before it comes to Tassie, and it’s very clean. It’s the cleanest on the scale. I used to work as tour guide in Tassie. It’s so beautiful and untouched. Cradle Mountain always makes me go, “Oh!”
Bad thing is that Tassie is cold. I’m from Japan. Japan is located in the northern hemisphere, so for us, south means warm. I always thought Australia would be really warm all the time, like beach, sunshine, surfing. But it’s ok.
What are the top 5 things to do in Tassie?
- Cradle Mountain. Walk around and visit Dove Lake.
- Seafood Restaurants. There are many good ones, but my favorite is Blue Eye in Salamanca.
- Wineries in Richmond. I like wine. I used to drink red, but now that I’ve tried the whites from Tasmania, I like this too. White is good.
- Salamanca Wharf Area.
- Richmond. My husband works there. It’s one of the oldest towns in Tassie. You can see the oldest church and oldest bridge.
What would someone pack to visit Tasmania?
A jacket! Even in the summer. Sometimes it’s chilly in the morning and evening. Always wear a sweater.
How has selling on Etsy been helpful for your business?
Selling on the internet is the only option, so Etsy really helps. There are many options, but Etsy has been the most profitable. I sell all around the world, mostly to the US and Australia. Postage is always an issue. It’s a lot. I am making bigger bags right now and I would like to ship them outside of Tassie easily.
Check out Masae’s work in her Etsy shop The Roadie.