Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Getting to know..... DEADLY PONIES

New Zealand label Deadly Ponies released their first collection back in 2005. 10 years on they are showing no signs of slowing down.  Violent Green got together with Deadly Ponies head honcho Liam Bowden to see what makes them tick

To view and shop Deadly Ponies collection, please click here

Hi Liam, thanks for taking time out to chat with Violent Green.
10 years.  That's a big milestone!  Congratulations Liam! How did Deadly Ponies first start up

Thanks. It is crazy how fast a decade goes, but we will celebrating in style next year with our anniversary collection launching at the end of 2015. We started out small, making wallets and bags for a store in Auckland. They sold out in the first week the product hit the floor and the momentum built from there. Within a month it was a full time job and ten years on it is still the most rewarding job I can dream of. 

One (of the many) things Deadly Ponies is renowned for is the build quality and design.  Still all designed and made in New Zealand, how important is it for you to keep things local 

Yes, we still make the majority of our products here. It is very important for us to keep things local, as there is nothing like the handmade quality of our products. As we get bigger it has become increasingly difficult to find people with the traditional leather skills but we are working on more innovative ways to meet the demand for our product.

Do you find the end product more rewarding knowing how much time and dedication has gone into each individual bag?

 Yes, absolutely. Surprisingly, as time goes on it is the smallest changes and improvements that are the most rewarding. 

Each Season sees some unique colours.  What's the process of deciding which colour you will use for each season?

Colour selection is extremely important, so not surprisingly it is a lengthy process. In between seasons we collect color inspiration from different swatches, fabrics, clippings etc. We then send them to our tannery who matches them for us. The final step is selecting the colors that best complement each other as well as fit in with the overall story of the collection.

When designing a bag, is there a particular criteria it must meet?  Do you have to ever sacrifice practicality to have the 'perfect' looking bag?

Yes, there is definitely criteria that needs to be met whenever we design a new style. We also refine certain styles every season as we find new ways to wear them. Above all, we want our products to be functional and stand the test of time. They are an investment piece that we hope our customers will enjoy for many years.

This season Deadly Ponies has introduced a number of new styles.  Will these become a regular appearance in the Deadly Ponies line-up?

It often depends on the style and the collection. We always strive to have a broad product selection, whilst still offering the Deadly Ponies favorites. We often bring back and replace certain styles with ones we get lots of requests for.

We've found that a lot of New Zealanders that move to Australia still go out of their way to find your products.  Have you found your fan base becoming more global, or is the strongest following still back home?

 We are lucky to have a very strong kiwi following but we have found that our products now have a global reach and that customer base has expanded to all four corners of the globe. It is incredibly rewarding to walk the streets of NY and see someone with one of our bags.

How does the Deadly Ponies team 'get in the zone'?  Is there a particular style of music or maybe even a ritual that you follow before getting ready to pump the collection out?

We have a very collaborative process when we create a new collection. As our team is quite diverse, each individual has their own little rituals that help them get in the zone. One thing is for sure; we always have music playing- and a music roster ensures everyone gets his or her turn!

What can we expect to see over the next ten years from Deadly Ponies?

I imagine we will expand beyond exclusively producing handbags. It has been an incredible ride so far and I can’t wait to see what the next ten years has in store…

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Liam.

posted by robgreen


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