The Backward Vendor

The Backward Vendor is a London-based workshop founded by leather artisan, April Mai. The Backward Vendor is a reflection of cultural and traditional heritage, and a homage to traditional craft.

Combining traditional techniques with creative innovation, The Backward Vendor use only natural raw materials and skills that have often been disregarded for the ‘convenience’ of mass production. Their design concept is firmly rooted in their surroundings; people, nature and the environment. Inspired by the timelessness and the quality of craft and handmade design.

Leather Artisan

The Backward Vendor


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The Backward Vendor use traditional leather crafting techniques to carefully hand produce their pieces. Using only natural, raw materials and the highest quality vegetable tanned leathers from a traditional tannery, their baskets celebrate the perfect imperfections of leather.


1. What motivates you to make?

Half-jokingly, I was as tough as old boots in my youth, and my determination to prove “the older generation” wrong about women’s capabilities to succeed in a traditionally male-dominated artisan world, first sparked my interest in working with leather.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

Our design concept is firmly rooted in its surroundings. Everyday life, people, history and nature are a continuous source of inspiration, and sustainability is always at the core. Our pieces are made from ethically sourced leathers coloured with completely natural methods.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

I do believe that every handmade piece has its own voice; its own personal, detailed story to tell. As leather ages, it creates a distinctive patina resulting from everything it has experienced. In particular, vegetable-tanned leather is best known for the way it records its life through marks, tone and texture. Over time it deepens in colour, becoming a rich dark brown. Like our own skin, leather interacts with its environment; it matures through exposure to sunlight, pollutants and day-to-day bumps, scratches and scuffs.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

It is incredibly rewarding seeing an idea transform into a product and seeing how these Backward Vendor products can be used to improve our daily life. For example, our Bread Holder bag is an incredibly useful bag for holding groceries.

5. What is your dream project?

We would like to work on further commissions to produce unique, one-off pieces that serve the client’s individual requirements.

To be kept informed about new collections from The Backward Vendor, please email [email protected]


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