Leather from shed to the world

MICK ‘Maka’ Kerkham might spend his days in his Sorell home’s garden shed designing and making leather goods, but his beautiful handmade leather products are shining on the international stage.

He sells his leather products which include knife rolls, tool belts, toiletry bags, pencil cases and belts all over the world.

In fact, some of the country’s top chefs, including Manu Feildel, Matt Stone, Ben Turner and Jock Zonfrillo are huge fans of Maka’s famous leather knife rolls.

Recently, Small Business Minister and Prosser MLC Jane Howlett caught up with Maka to see first-hand how the Enterprise Centres Tasmania (ECT) program had helped him with growing his business.

“The Tasmanian Government funds the ECT program, which provides free business guidance and advice to help small businesses, like MAKA Leathergoods, reach their potential,’’ Ms Howlett said.

“The program offers two hours of free business advice for business start-ups to help refine business ideas and up to five hours free business advice for established businesses.’’

In Sorell the ECT program is run by the South East Regional Development Association’s (SERDA), Oliver Strickland.

“Oliver’s been really great helping me with the cash flow management course that I’ve done through them,’’ Mr Kerkham said.

“It’s really helped me to focus on my finances. It’s given me the confidence to invest in machinery and so forth, knowing that I’m going to get a return on that investment.’’

Mr Strickland was also able to provide advice about putting on additional staff members to help MAKA’s Leathergoods business grow.

“I was contracting an employee through another local business, so I was really wanting to know the ins and outs of employing someone direct.”
“Now I have two employees and it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be,” Mr Kerkham said.

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