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Fortune Favors the Brave

Fortune Favors the Brave

“The greater the risk, the greater the reward.” “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” “Fortune favors the brave.” Sure, the quotes are cheesy, but the sentiment stands: the only way to know how something will pan out—how truly amazing it could be, or, yes, how spectacularly it might fail—is to actually take a chance and give it a shot. Just ask Alex Bender, the talented designer behind the Berlin-based leather goods line of the same name. In 2011, Alex was working part time as a seamstress sewing custom bridal gowns; on her days off, she worked on her line of colorful leather handbags. Underpaid,...

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Quit Your Day Job

Quit Your Day Job

The craftsmanship of Alex Bender’s handmade leather bags suggests a longtime love affair between the artist and her sewing machine. But Alex’s relationship to sewing wasn’t always so sweet. After growing up in the small town of Weißenburg in Bavaria, Germany, she left home after high school for a seamstress-training program in the countryside. There, she learned to sew under rigorous instruction. "It was very strict," Alex recalls. "We were not allowed to talk." There was immense pressure to sew perfectly, and trainees had to write down their daily speed. Through this training, Alex gained a strong technical foundation that...

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