Love + Leather, much like its name, is equal parts delicate and badass. Produced by self-taught jewelry designer, Renee Tobias, the boho meets rocker-inspired collection boasts an array of necklaces and adornments featuring intricate beading, braiding, and you guessed it, leather. Conceived from a DIY Halloween costume accent, Love + Leather has since grown into a cult favorite summer and festival accessory, adorning bloggers and free spirits across the country. The carefully crafted assortment of statement pieces definitely brings out our inner bohemia. Read on to get the inside scoop from designer, rocker babe and entrepreneur Renee Tobias on starting a business, finding inspiration, and on her favorite local haunts.
CULT: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Rumor has it that Love + Leather was born from a Halloween Costume DIY – tell us the story!
Renee: It all started with a halloween costume. I designed a necklace (Tribal Rock) to go with my Native American costume one year. I liked it so much I wore it all the time and everywhere I wore it out, people asked me where I got it and told me I should make and sell them. The rest is history.
CULT: Have you always been a creative or was that your first experience crafting jewelry?
Renee: I have always been creative ever since I was a little girl. I used to melt toothbrushes and make bracelets out of them and sew men’s ties together and make skirts. I also paint and I used to write short stories when I was younger.
I even remember making earrings out of sea shells and selling them to my neighbors so I guess I started early! Haha
CULT: Where do you look to for sources of inspiration?
Renee: I’m always looking everywhere I go. I find inspiration in magazines, style posts & the street style around me. Sometimes a certain thing will stand out to me that I feel I could incorporate in a new piece.
CULT: Love + Leather embodies the ultimate cross of badass rocker chick and bohemian aesthetic. How would you describe your own personal style?
Renee: I would say I’m more of the rocker chick. I wear a lot of cut up tees and converse shoes.
CULT: What are some things that you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Renee: I can’t think of anything specific that I wish I would have known. I just learn little bits and pieces as I go that help me build & grow from where I currently am at the time. It’s a process and I’m loving the journey.
CULT: Which piece from the newest collection are you currently coveting?
Renee: Right now it’s a tie between the Heavenly Twilight necklace and the Enchanted Princess necklace. (I also have a new collection coming next month called Indian Summer so keep on the lookout for it!)
CULT: If you could raid one person’s jewelry stash – who would it be?
Renee: Probably Vanessa Mooney
CULT: Favorite local haunts and places to feel inspired:
Renee: I love going to thrift shops and flea markets as much as possible! You never know what you might find. I love being able to draw inspiration from things of the past that I could somehow make current.
CULT: Other than a Love + Leather necklace, what other item or accessory will you never be caught without?
Renee: I’m pretty low key. I’d probably have to say my Chuck Taylor’s.
CULT: Words to live by:
Renee: Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.
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