Hélèné Perucci : From Finance to Leather Goods
Crossing your garden to go to work, I had never thought about that! And yet here she is, Hélène, at 50, setting up her own workshop to begin a new professional career. A few months ago, I went to visit her in the suburbs of Paris. With great humbleness, she explained to me why she decided to leave her office job 4 years ago and join the craftsmanship. Today she has her own brand : Po! Artisan maroquinier. A studio of creation, manufacturing and restoration workshop for private individuals and professionals. Meeting with an endearing and determined woman.
# Hélène, Why did you switch careers ?
I had made my achievements in my career ! One day, I realized that I haven’t done much in my life other than dashboards. It had already been thinking about it for some time but the circumstances were not ideal. A reconversion when you have young children can be extremely difficult. But then, the time comes when everything falls into place !
# Wow did you get the training ?
I really wanted to do something serious so I decided to go back to studying by enrolling in a professional school in Paris. I had many internships to learn about luxury and the big fashion houses. I was told that it would be very difficult to get hired with my CV and no background in design, so it suited me well to believe them and had a better reason to start on my own !
When the adventure begins, it is better not to stop. If we listen to others, we end up not doing anything !
# Is it easy to enter the world of leather goods ?
When you first enter it, people are welcoming. But it’s such a small world. You have to be humble, modest, and want to work. It’s a very hard-working job! You just can’t be dilettante. So you have to hang in there.
# What do you like the most about your job today ?
The leather ! It has incredible virtue. It solicits all your senses. The sight, smell and sound. It can get very loud with the sound of hammers and then fall into silence. There is also the side of infinite creativity. Do you have an absolute dream? An orange bag with green handles, with lots of pockets inside. I can make it for you! I create my own products: handbags, belts, small pockets, watchbands. I love items that are functional. Last example. My daughter wanted a small wallet to put her money, credit card and cell phone for when she goes clubbing. I made her one that fits in the pocket of her jeans !
# What quality should you have to become a leather craftsman ?
You must be extremely precise, careful. It requires patience. You must also love tinkering! You don’t always have everything you need to create what you want. Sometimes you have to use cardboard pieces and some tricks… And then the hand create what the mind desires !
# What is your viewpoint on your professional retraining ?
Amazement at first! Sometimes I come here, I enter the studio and I say to myself. ” This story is completely crazy !” Other people have this impression too. Some are even in denial and haven’t yet integrated. Everyone had to go through training for at least a year to start from zero. It’s a very good lesson of humility.
I prefer myself now rather than before. I reached the top of my career full of certainties. I feel better now with my doubts.
This is completely amazing! I am going through personal progress.
Texts : Jessica Lia – Photographies : Alexis Chaillous