Natalie Davis and Canoe have been a part of Feliz since it's before the first event happened 4 Novembers ago. This is her brain child, and we're honored to keep the tradition going. With Feliz off her plate, she's grown her leather crafting business, Canoe, introduced and award winning fragrance, and had time to play in "beginner brain" (which is our new favorite term).
Product: Hand tooled & dyed leather goods
Location: East Austin
Astrological sign: Leo/Virgo cusp (a pretty accurate blend, too!)
What you had for breakfast: 2 eggs over easy and half an avocado, black tea with half & half
Natalie - let's get right into it - tell the people how you originated Feliz, tell a little bit about the Feliz origin story, and then we'll get into Canoe.
Feliz started as a dreamy idea back in 2011 with the talented Abby Powell Thompson. We spent a year developing it and launched November 2012 with a full weekend of parties, workshops, and a holiday sale. Both of us had done many shows over the years and wanted to create a more intimate experience with a very high bar of design. Our goal was to have a show that both the designers and audience looked forward to each year, where the designers felt taken care of and the customers got to actually converse with the maker in a relaxed and beautiful setting.
What have you been making the past few months?
The past few months have been busy experimenting with new forms, some sculptural pieces, and expanding our leather selection. We’ve been pretty busy doing custom work for clients, including El Cosmico, Hotel San Jose, and Hotel Emma in San Antonio.
Sometimes, I feel I could learn something new about ceramics every day until I die. Does it feel like that with leather and the history of leather craft?
Absolutely!! I feel lucky that leather is a material that has been used for centuries in so many different applications. I’m always learning and being humbled by it. It keeps us in “beginner’s mind” often, which leads to oddball experiments and play time.
How have you seen Austin's design landscape change since you've lived here?
It’s blown up, which is amazing! It’s always great to meet new makers, shop owners, and studios. Austin has a very supportive community of creatives, and our customer base grows as the population grows. When folks complain about traffic or new apartments, I always counter that our small businesses need the support. Although that argument can be hard to remember at 5pm on I-35.
And you've made a very successful perfume! How did that experience shape Canoe?
Skive, our perfume collaboration with J.Hannah, has really changed the way we approach our products. It was a labor of love and took us 3 months to get it just right. It’s success has introduced us to a whole new audience and some amazing opportunities to share the story of our studio. It’s an unexpected product for a leather studio, but so much of what we try to do at Canoe is about surprising folks with what leather can be. Skive was about staying true to myself and my vision for Canoe.