An Interview With Galen Leather

The blog is off to Turkey this week to interview Yusuf of Galen Leather, a family owned company specialising in hand made leather goods for stationery and pen & paper enthusiasts. The company was founded in 2012 by Zeynep who sadly passed away in July 2019 , but she left the company in good hands and the company is now thriving under the loving stewardship of her brother Yusuf and her husband Yunis. Hi and a big warm welcome to the blog, Yusuf 😊

Hello. I’m Yusuf Perens, co-owner of Galen Leather, a small family business based in Istanbul, Turkey. We handcraft beautiful leather goods and stationery.

What inspired the launch of Galen Leather?

Galen Leather was actually started by my late sister, Zeynep. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that could potentially take away her ability to speak. This made her reconsider her career in sales and look for alternative ways to work. After successfully undergoing treatment, she still lost her ability to speak for a year. Unable to continue in sales, she turned to her love of leather goods and launched an Etsy shop selling locally-made products. That was the beginning of Galen Leather

Have you, Zeynep and Yunus always had an interest in leatherwork/& stationery or did you have other career plans whilst growing up?

While we all appreciate beautiful craftsmanship, none of us specifically planned careers in leatherwork or stationery. However, we’ve always been a creative family, and when Zeynep needed to find a new path, her love for these products made perfect sense. I came on board later to help with product development and photography as the business grew.

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I’m interested in your brand name – Galen – why was that name specifically picked? Were there any other contenders?

We actually considered a number of names before choosing Galen. Galen was a famous Greek physician known for his emphasis on both reason and experience in medicine. We felt this connected well with our philosophy of creating beautiful, handcrafted products that are also functional and long-lasting.

I do so love a journal! What products are most popular amongst your customers at the moment?

We offer a wide range of leather goods and stationery, but our journals are consistently popular. Right now, our traveler’s notebooks and leather portfolios are doing particularly well. People appreciate the quality and craftsmanship that goes into each piece.

Do you have a favourite item from your collection?

Actually, the Writer’s Medic Bag holds a special place in my heart. In memory of our founder, Zeynep, who passed away in July 2019, this was her last design. After many months of work and tweaking, we’ve finally brought it to life and couldn’t be more proud of the final product! It embodies her love for beautiful, functional items and her spirit of creativity.

What are the main features a customer would expect from buying one of your products?

Customers can expect exceptional quality and craftsmanship when they purchase a Galen Leather product. We use only the finest vegetable-tanned full-grain leather and traditional techniques to create products that are both beautiful and functional. Our products are also built to last and become treasured companions.

Based in Istanbul, are your items available to purchase worldwide?

Yes, even though we’re based in Istanbul, we ship our products worldwide through our Shopify store. We want people everywhere to be able to experience the quality and beauty of Galen Leather goods.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

My style is fairly classic and timeless. I typically wear well-fitting jeans or chinos with a plain shirt or sweater. For shoes, I prefer leather boots or oxfords. Quality and comfort are important to me.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love to explore small, independent shops when I travel. These places often have unique and interesting items that you can’t find anywhere else. I also follow a few fountain pen brands online that I admire for their craftsmanship and design.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I’m always on the lookout for a well-made leather jacket. The perfect one would be timeless and stylish, something I could wear for years to come.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc

Thank you so much for chatting to me, Yusuf – your products are delightful . All photographs have been published with kind permission of Galen Leather.

Linda x

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