We met at a trade show called Lolla Producer, now I can call him a friend, a mate. Passionate, real and an individual who has masses of integrity to his craft. Meet the man who is Maka Leather Goods, Mick Kerham.
Maka is not out for world dominance in the leathergoods world, not out to pump out products, but dedicated to providing quality and personalisation to all of his pieces. Known by chefs around the globe and the culinary world, to this day every piece is still personally made by Maka. Such a humble man and great person to have a yarn with. I had the opportunity to chat with the man that is Maka Leathergoods, getting to know him a little better. He makes you feel at ease, always has time for you. I feel I have known him for a very long time, like a brother. A proud Tasmanian, still hand making every piece in the town of Sorell, Tasmania
A chat with Maka
How did you get into the craft of leathergoods?
By accident, someone had a sewing machine for sale and I bought it. It started with me getting some offcuts of leather and it started with builders asking me to make a tool roll, then went onto tool belts and chefs asking for chef knife rolls, the rest is history.
Why Sorell, Tasmania?
Because it is home for me. I’ve always lived in Tasmania, travelling all around the state to see the craft of leather making. My background is as a horticulturist. My wife Allanah has MS, so as a carer I had to work out a way to bring the balance of income and be her carer. This passion gives me some flexibility to do the things I need to do.
Where does the leather come from?
Tanneries in Australia have closed down, so it is extremely hard to find and source them from Australia. Most hides comes from New Zealand, created from grain feed beef. There is a requirement for strength and softness that I look for and I have to make sure that the leather I choose does the job. But stay tuned as I’m in talks trying to get some Tasmania hides prepared for me to use, hopefully will be available in 6 months time.
I have a great deal of followings from international chefs, I’ve started this online business (maka.com.au) to give a platform for them to be able to get one of my chef rolls. Demands has been going gangbusters.
Tell me more about Mick the man?
I’m a very proud Tasmanian, I’ve always wanted to be somebody who could promote the beauty and the craftsmanship of Tasmania. A lot of my customers love coming to Tasmania and I get to do the craft that I love.
Are you a good cook?
Yeah I am. I wanted to be a chef when I was younger, I love the slow and low cooking methods. I have a Weber kettle and a smoker. My kind of cuisine is American Texas style, I love meat.
What is your favourite dish?
At home there’s nothing better than a good Aussie roast lamb, I have one in the oven right now.
What are you most proud of?
I have developed a really good client base, and reputation which I am very proud of. I get a real kick when I see my products either featured in shows or with international chefs like chef Jock Zonfrillo from restaurant Orana and recently on Manu feildel's American road trip on channel Seven. I’ve started this business 15 years ago and now it has taken me to meeting some of the most incredible chefs and people in the business. I've participated in Meatstock, Lolla Producer and have featured a number of times with Gourmet Traveler magazine.
Did you draw your own logo?
No mate. A good mate of mine did it, Ben comes from an artist family and he and I collaborated to make this beautiful logo.