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Luxe Leather Handbags and Accessories From Klès

Apr 15, 2019

by Sharon Steel

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

In our weekly Featured Shop series, we shine a light on a standout shop from Etsy’s talented seller community, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at their process and story.

Jessica Gomez has always thought of minimalism as a guiding north star. Born and raised in France, the leather handbag and accessories designer behind Klès now works out of her home studio in Bristol, England, where she creates each of her streamlined shoulder bags, hand-painted clutches, and gorgeously pared-down card holders entirely by hand. “When I design, I try to remove everything that isn’t necessary,” explains Jessica. “I create timeless pieces because I want customers to be able to keep them for five, 10, even 50 years.”

Explore the Klès collection

With the launch of Klès four years ago, Jessica successfully merged her background as a French designer with a lifelong love of British style—much to the delight of her international fan base. “But I still definitely have a French touch,” she says. That much is clear in all of Klès’s personalizable pieces, including the popular LANA crossbody, the MAYA card holder, and the SASHA clutch—each of which evokes a confident, “It Girl” aesthetic true to London’s High Street, combined with a classic femininity that the French just might channel better than anyone in the world. The result is a distinctive leather goods line best described in Jessica’s words as “elegant, chic, and all in the details.”

Read on to discover Jessica’s top accessorizing tips for spring, and shop the Klès collection.

Portrait of Klés accessories designer Jessica Gomez seated at her desk in her Bristol studio.

How did you get started selling leather bags and accessories?

I studied fashion design in France, then moved to London to learn English and found a job in online advertising. I did that for seven years before I realized I wanted to go back to designing. But instead of ready-to-wear fashion, I decided to focus on handbags and accessories because when I went to buy one for myself, there were no bags in my budget that were high quality. I thought that could be a good thing to change. I enrolled in a leatherworking class, which gave me confidence, then I continued to teach myself skills and techniques by watching tutorials on YouTube.

What is it about designing bags that appeals to you?

It’s all about the quality—I can spot a poorly constructed handbag from miles away. It’s not the same with a dress. You can buy a budget-priced dress and it can still look nice. But a handbag needs to be impeccable. So my goal was to launch a high-quality brand that was stylish, but not too expensive. I also wanted to make something handmade, with local materials, which is more sustainable. My hope is that people will keep my pieces longer, because they bought them with that idea in mind.

How has your line evolved over time?

My first collection only featured handbags. But later, I started making smaller accessories so more people could afford my designs. If they loved the bags and couldn’t afford one yet, they could still have a little piece of that idea though a keychain, pouch, or even a pair of earrings.

Jessica Gomez's Bristol studio

Jessica standing at her desk, about to cut out a leather form from a paper pattern

You hand-stitch all of your pieces, and everything is made-to-order. How does this process set your work apart?

To sew leather, especially thick leather, you need a very strong thread. If one stitch breaks on a machine-sewn bag, the whole thing will come apart. But if one stitch breaks in a hand-stitched bag, you can keep using it, and it won’t all come undone. It also looks better. But my latest designs, like the SCYLLA and MARA, are not stitched at all—I fold the leather and use rivets to hold it together.

You offer a personalization option for all your accessories. What has the reaction to that been like?

My customers request personalization for most of the smaller items that I sell. It does make everything more unique. For example, I make a pouch that can be used to hold wedding rings, and people often ask for their initials on the front, with their wedding date on the back. I love that kind of request.

How did hand-painted leather become a signature for you?

I wanted to incorporate more colors for my smaller accessories, and I came across some leather paint. I ordered a few bottles and began experimenting. I also tried working with dye, and ended up combining the two as I perfected my methods. The ink brush effect is created using both dye and paints.

Jessica hand-paints a piece of leather while seated at her desk

Close-up shot of Jessica hand-painting leather
Assorted hand-painted Klés pieces arranged on a surface

How do you approach sourcing leather?

My leather is made in Italy or Belgium, and I buy it in London from a small shop. I don’t want my leather to travel far. If it’s not made under the right conditions, it can be harmful for the workers and the environment. Instead of chrome leather, I use vegetable-tanned leather, which is made with more natural ingredients.

How do you choose the colors of the leather?

I started with black, because it’s classic, and easy to wear with anything. Then I began incorporating the nude leather, and because I use leather with no plastic coating, it naturally grows darker over time. I also added a pale pink, and for the winter I really like offering earthy tones, so I added some dark brown designs.

Finished Klés pieces sit on a table, waiting to be packaged

Six Klés wallets and pouches stand stacked in a row

Jessica standing outside holding a handful of her pieces

Which of your designs would you recommend for someone looking to accessorize for spring?

The SOPHIA belt bag is great for spring, especially if you’re going to a festival. It’s small so you don’t have to carry a big bag on your shoulder. If you wear a plain T-shirt, a pair of jeans, and a nice pair of sneakers, you can wear one of my bags, and it makes you look elegant, trendy, and chic at the same time. You don’t need to spend too much effort on your outfit—the bag makes the look.

So, what’s next on the horizon for Klès?

I’d like to release two small collections each year, with different shapes in more colors. I’m working on some larger shoulder bags, and there will also be a new small, hand-painted bag, designed to look like a cute little box! I plan to list a few new products this spring, and during the summer, even more.

Follow Klès on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Photographs by Inna Kostukovsky unless otherwise noted.

Shop Klès

Personalised handmade mini leather pouch / business card holder - MILA "Ink Brushed"
Personalised handmade mini leather pouch / business card holder - MILA "Ink Brushed"
KlesOfficial
$38.93 USD
Personalised handmade leather pouch - MISHA "Shapes"
Personalised handmade leather pouch - MISHA "Shapes"
KlesOfficial
$46.98 USD
Personalised handmade mini leather pouch / business card holder - MILA "Shapes"
Personalised handmade mini leather pouch / business card holder - MILA "Shapes"
KlesOfficial
$38.93 USD
Personalised handmade leather bow bag charm - Black
Personalised handmade leather bow bag charm - Black
KlesOfficial
$22.82 USD
Handmade and hand-painted leather earrings with gold filled / sterling silver hoops - Back dye design
Handmade and hand-painted leather earrings with gold filled / sterling silver hoops - Back dye design
KlesOfficial
$26.85 USD
Elegant handmade leather crossbody bag - LIA - Can be personalised - Black
Elegant handmade leather crossbody bag - LIA - Can be personalised - Black
KlesOfficial
$253.69 USD
Handmade leather wallet - SASKIA Tan / Brown
Handmade leather wallet - SASKIA Tan / Brown
KlesOfficial
$65.77 USD
Handmade leather wallet - SASKIA Matte Black
Handmade leather wallet - SASKIA Matte Black
KlesOfficial
$65.77 USD
Handmade leather wallet - SASKIA Ink Brushed - Natural & Black
Handmade leather wallet - SASKIA Ink Brushed - Natural & Black
KlesOfficial
$72.48 USD
Handmade leather bracelet - Natural and gold colours
Handmade leather bracelet - Natural and gold colours
KlesOfficial
$16.11 USD
Handmade grained leather clutch bag - LANA Black - Can be personalised
Handmade grained leather clutch bag - LANA Black - Can be personalised
KlesOfficial
$226.85 USD
Personalised folded handmade leather pouch - MONA Ink brushed - Natural and Black
Personalised folded handmade leather pouch - MONA Ink brushed - Natural and Black
KlesOfficial
$52.35 USD

45 comments

  • rhondastubbs2

    Rhonda Stubbs from RhondaCorner said 8 days ago

    Your bags are great looking. Congratulations on your feature. I wish you the very best on all of your future endeavors.

  • marinaklimantova7

    Marina Klimantova from Goodlooksdecor said 8 days ago

    I love leather bags! I have few of them, since they are not cheap, but each one is very dear to me. I really liked the beige bag with black stripes!)

  • taj2tuuw

    BlueCaterpillarDesignStudio from GreetingCardsBlue said 8 days ago

    Congratulations on the feature ! Gorgeous shop and goodies !

  • sqq2abnf

    Petra from House96 said 8 days ago

    Inspiring story and beautiful bags!

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories from ClassicMemories said 8 days ago

    Fantastic items. Great shop. Congrats on the feature.

  • cleoma27

    Irina Zozulya from CleomaKnitShop said 8 days ago

    Jessica, I am delighted with your clutches! They are very stylish and feminine! Good luck with your store development!

  • jjsnsbn5

    Мария Крымихина from JewelryMariKrimih said 8 days ago

    It's fantastic! That's great!

  • msbijouxbeads

    Cathy from msbijouxbeads said 8 days ago

    Love your workspace, beautiful bags, congratulations on a great feature!

  • wxzov3hm

    Darya from BijouPuzzle said 8 days ago

    These are great works! I fell in love with this style! Simple and very stylish!

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    TreasuredMemoryLane from TreasuredMemoryLane said 8 days ago

    Fantastic line of leather bags! Congratulations on the feature!

  • thewildplum

    Christina from TheWildPlum said 8 days ago

    When we have a personal need/want that no one else seems to be fulfilling, we are given an opportunity to fill that personal need by making what we envisioned. As we fulfill our needs/wants/dreams our passions are given rich soil to plant, water and nourish seeds to sprout wings that can carry us up and up. How inspiring to see such beautiful wings as I read this! I appreciate reading this reminder of how Jessica took one learning lesson at a time. Lessons that eventually ended up showing her a way to create something meaningful for her (focusing on quality - from step one until the last step - over quantity) and beyond. (I needed a reminder today.) I adore products that have their creator's mindful and heartfelt handprints interwoven throughout the entire process, existing within the final result, while not ending up in landfills. Impeccable leather goods! Impeccable feature! Well worth the price (I have found that when something isn't cheap, we tend to buy less and make it count; treating what we budget for, ourselves and this planet better). Congratulations, Jessica!

  • 4swcjhpy

    Nadin from NadinArtCraft said 8 days ago

    I love the minimalist style in clothes and accessories. I would love to wear a bag like this!

  • 4lcaw73f

    Marusyateddy from Manunyateddy said 8 days ago

    I agree 100 percent that the rune stitch is the strongest. In my products I use only manual sewing.

  • kjnd3i2q

    Tatyana from MOMsBirdie said 8 days ago

    I like brown bags. It's really great for a plain T-shirt, a pair of jeans, and a nice pair of sneakers :)) Thanks

  • e4o5aube

    Marina from MyHobbyTimeTMN said 8 days ago

    Beautiful and stylish bags. I really like the laconic, minimalist design. Especially liked the bags with the effect of ink brush. Wishing you inspiration and new ideas!

  • ljoy400e

    Sambra Anna from lacelightearrings said 8 days ago

    Congratulations on the future! So stylish bags!

  • LadyInPurple

    Jennifer Tyson from LadyInPurpleBoutique said 8 days ago

    Great story and lovely bags! Congrats on the feature!

  • fm2execl

    Olga from Houseinthevillage said 8 days ago

    That's very beautiful! And an individual approach to the buyer is captivating! Great!

  • y6jrnsb1

    Julia Aleshkina from AltoysCo said 8 days ago

    Stunning bags! so interesting to know the history of the master, his way that inspires. I wish good luck!

  • iuxka6g6

    Olga Kaplina from FunnyLoopsFinds said 8 days ago

    Gorgeous shop. Simple and very stylish!

  • cpgrngbc

    Olesya from princessatoys said 8 days ago

    Cool bags, perfectly complement the image)

  • a24kadaa

    Ellen from SpaghettiBags said 8 days ago

    These are beautiful! So glad to have found them on this feature - love that you are offering smaller goods that are more accessible to your fans.

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink said 7 days ago

    Totally my style pursues. Love the simple touch of artist. It is better less than more. Product is amazing by itself by it's simplicity. Love your story and wish you the best here on Etsy !

  • qx3bksd7

    Aleksandra from CrochetHeroes said 7 days ago

    Inspiring stories! Bags are very stylish and feminine!

  • PokutniaAnna

    Anna from FairyToysWorld said 7 days ago

    Very nice bags! Wish you many customers, you have a good product.

  • z3x3joun

    Tatiana from WednesdayCeramic said 7 days ago

    I would like to touch them, it looks very pleasant.

  • nsglsrat

    Mariya from 2MVA2 said 7 days ago

    What wonderful bags))) I wish you success!

  • jzanzghi

    Елена from TwistedJewelryRU said 7 days ago

    It's so interesting to watch the process of creating these things. This is a surprisingly inspiring example.

  • ostruts

    Olga Struts from FiberArtShop said 7 days ago

    Very stylish and concise bags. How nice that you care about women. Good luck in your beautiful business.

  • ybuphgsc

    Anna from UniqWool said 7 days ago

    very-very beautiful and stylish bags. It would be great to create such beautiful things from eco-friendly materials.

  • gp0ospsz

    ooccttoobbeerr from ooccttoobbeerr said 7 days ago

    I love hand-painted things! Cool idea to apply ink brush effect in your artworks. It's nice that people take care of their customers, choosing quality materials and creating good things. Especially liked the bags that are just going, without seams :)

  • eqom5xqu

    Niakris from DreamsOfTheUniverse said 7 days ago

    What stylish and concise bags and bracelets! It would be great if the color scheme was wider, but everything is fine.

  • bvysgqdo

    bluewine studio from bluewinestudio said 7 days ago

    Your design is simple yet STYLISH!!! love the ink brush effect... very unique.

  • 2dyq9z2b

    Anastasiya from byKiama said 7 days ago

    Cool bags! Congrats on the feature!

  • x8qnpozo

    Anna from LissiKids said 7 days ago

    Your bags are look amazing. I immediately wanted to buy myself such a bag

  • fo4tnlmm

    Maria from MaShawl said 7 days ago

    Great work, pure minimalism! Your bags are perfect! I like them!

  • minipotterybyanita

    AnitasPottery.com from potterybyAnita said 7 days ago

    Beautiful work! I love the free-style, yet controlled, designs of your bags! And so interesting to find that you decided to learn how to work with leather to make them. I did the same when wanting to see if I could do pottery! Congrats on being featured and best to you in the future! 🌷🌷🌷

  • daunit6w

    Asya from LuluGoldShop said 7 days ago

    Simple and very stylish! I really like your shop!

  • JuliShvili

    Julia Verulashvili from JuliShvili said 7 days ago

    Really?! Some of them are not stitched at all?! It is great idea to use rivets to hold all the bag!!! My husband sew leather bags, hand-stiched really looks and are weared much better then mashine-sewn, but he never tryed to use only rivets.

  • femmelafit

    femmelafit from FemmelaFIT said 7 days ago

    Hi Sharon, has anyone ever requested a custom size pouch to discreetly put feminine items in? I think that would be a great way to take small items to the restroom at the office without being obvious and without having to take your whole purse if one tends to carry a large bag. Just a thought. Your work is beautiful and very creative.

  • TropicalGarden

    TropicalGarden from TropicalGarden said 6 days ago

    Beautiful handmade leather bag collection. Congratulations on the feature!

  • RandMhandmade

    Renee from RandMhandmade said 6 days ago

    Congratulations! Love your handbags!!

  • f4kfoogb

    Maggie from BlossomBouquetStudio said 4 days ago

    Congratulations on the feature! I admire your design style. And as a fellow bag designer wish you much more great designs in the future.

  • rellyh

    Relly from RelsFindsNapaValley said 3 days ago

    I love, love your design, they're modern and practical. The grained leather LINA Black looks fabulous.

  • fov1ym1m

    bestMark from BestMarkStudio said 1 day ago

    Great Shop. good luck !

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