When Lisa Crick sees an old leather sofa, she sees a whole world of possibilities. The super-recycler tells us about the inspirations for her business, New Baginnings, and how her materials evolved from old curtains to repurposed leather.

“How did New Baginnings Start? In 2018 we changed the curtains in our living room and my husband asks what I was going to do with all that material… ‘Well,’ I said, ‘I’ll make Luggage’.

“We’d just come back from holiday and had the usual trauma of trying to recognise our suitcases on the carousel. I decided to start small, with a shopper, so off I trotted to the shop to buy a pattern and get some advice on what I needed.

“What I very soon realised is that to use this material I had to purchase so many extras… And to be honest I didn’t even like the end result. It was a bit boring.

Creating the first bag

“Following advice from my daughter I headed over to Pinterest to have a look at bags and found a range of denim ones that sparked my interest. After a few mishaps, my first bag emerged. Now I had a product, I just needed a name. I turned to social media and ran a competition. New Baginnings was finally born.

I started to buy redundant sample books and scraps from upholsterers and curtain makers and I made friends with charity shop managers. Soon they were putting their ripped jeans aside for me and other materials that they could not sell.

“By this time I had made enough bags to have enough confidence to try another pattern. I bought a vintage Hobo Bag pattern (that tied in with the fabrics and waste that I was using) and successfully made a version of this bag. The NB messenger or Crossbody bag was now in production.

Fashion design challenges

“When Covid 19 hit in 2020, I got a phone call from a factory that was closing down. They said I could empty a storeroom. What I didn’t know was that it was full to the rafters with sample leathers and suede, all destined to be thrown into the skip the following morning. I filled my car to the brim. This took my business in a new direction – one that gave me the confidence to try new things with the new fabrics.

“I took a break to sew the laundry bags for the NHS during the pandemic which helped me continue to sew and hone my craft.

“When I first had the idea to repurpose a sofa I found a free one on Facebook Market Place. It was a beautiful colour, but stained on the cushions. I stripped the sofa using a Stanley knife and weighed the leather – I had saved 4.3kg from Landfill!

“The first ever sofa bag I made was purchased by the lady who owned the sofa. That was nice, she gave me the sofa for free and then bought a bag back from me!

“I can generally process one sofa a week, and trust me it’s not a chore, sewing is my therapy and I just love leather, it just gives so much back.”

Find out more here.