Hello! We’re Lesley and Hannah, the mother-daughter team behind Cole Hands. We make women’s clothing and handbags in Tel Aviv, Israel. The name of our business comes from a family expression – my mum’s maiden name is Cole, and whenever someone makes something amazing we say, “I can tell you have Cole hands.”
My mum Lesley and I spent our first year as students at Shenkar College of Design together; she studied pattern making at the same time I was beginning the interior design program. Studying at the same place was great – we met for lunch once a week and she let me try out her new designs. Soon, we started collaborating and making things for ourselves, and then for our friends. When we heard about Etsy, we thought, “Why not?”
We work together in a small garden studio, listening to music and taking a lot of coffee breaks. Our process is collaborative: we fuse our style, knowledge and inspiration to come up with new designs. We try out all of our pieces before we sell them; in fact, our motto is “Test before you sell.” To do this, we give samples of new work to friends with different styles and body shapes. We never lack volunteers for this part!
Our inspiration comes from the way people wear things and make them their own. We like bold statements, individuality and anything that is a little out of the ordinary.
For us, Etsy means we get to be our own bosses; it allows us to shape our lives according to what we want for ourselves. Learning new techniques as we progress, and mixing modern and traditional approaches – like patchwork and laser printing – keep us on our toes. We are thankful for our wonderful customers who appreciate handmade pieces and make this all possible.
All photographs by Aya Wind.