We find Mona working between piles of leather positioned in a comfy space in West-Berlin, which feels more like a living room than a workshop. She sits at a table next to a wall filled with hand-tools. Mona crafts leather accessories that find their way to customers all over the globe.
How did Leevenstein first begin?
The desire to create was passed on from my parents. After first pursuing photography, I realized I wanted to engage in work that has that touch and feel to it. Working with leather got my interest, so I applied at a custom shoemaker. That proved to be a very fine and delicate craft because building a shoe with your hands demands extreme accuracy. The shoemaker taught me all I needed to know about leather types and how to work with them. Personally I love to work with the thicker leathers. Thick leathers age with such grace, and now this is what I mainly focus my work in. I started experimenting by making camera-shells for friends but soon I received requests for wallets and belts, and started producing those instead. And that’s how Leevenstein was born.
What’s the joy of working with your hands?
Starting with an idea, and in the end of the day holding that idea in your hands. It’s rewarding each and every day.
What are the essentials for a good workshop?
It should be a pleasant and warm environment. I work with leathers, a warm material. I need my workshop to reflect that in order to be inspired. It’s a visual thing for me.
How does the city of Berlin influence your work?
This city is filled with people who have their own businesses. It is part of the Berlin spirit, to try out ideas and then make it happen. When I had the idea for this business my friends were full of encouragement. That mindset brought me to start one of my own.