Crafting a life path with leather

– by Kerrie Alexander
IF you have a dream just follow it, says Shohei Kishishita.  The deeply passionate qualified chef is well-known for his  scrumptious degustation dinners at private gatherings on the  Fraser Coast.


What many may not know is that the Hervey Bay resident is  also an incredible leather artisan – a hobby that he turned  into a business, purely by following his dream of working from  home.

About 12 months ago, the road to becoming an online business owner started after the 27-year-old’s favourite leather wallet  gave up the ghost.

He searched high and low for a find a suitable replacement but none of them made the cut.  So, he bought a basic leather kit off eBay and made  one.

“I actually made it really good for the first one and  found I really enjoyed it and got really into it,” Shohei  said.

“I always wanted to work from home … I have been  selling internationally to the US and Canada mainly,  and some sales in Australia.

“It all happened really quickly.”  That was the successful beginning of two online  businesses called The Sho Room and Sayaya, and a  collaboration of selling Steam Punk-themed leather  goods with World Bazaar owner Kristen Young, where  bracelets and belts are a hit in the Scarness store.

The two online stores have a heavy focus on  personalised, custom-made leather goods like wallets,  watch straps and phone cases.

“I encourage the people to actually give me the ideas,  rather than selling my own. I like to do what they like.  “If you have a photo of a dog, I will carve the dog. If you  like a horse, I will do the picture of the horse in carving  and paint.”  Shohei said custom-made knife sheaths for chefs had  also been one of his biggest sellers on the Sayaya site.

“There’s some very passionate chefs with very fancy  knives,” he said.

“Some of them spend thousands of dollars, so much  money, so they like the decorative stuff to protect their  knives, and I love it myself because I’m a chef as  well.”

There was no formal training for the chef turned  leather artisan, who is also currently training to be  a scuba dive master.  A mix of determination, talent and YouTube videos  was his ingredients to success.  “It’s been a challenge of course but I have been  enjoying it.

“It was all self-taught; I couldn’t find anyone  around here to teach me but online resources are  so good these days that you don’t have to travel  to find someone to train you, there’s enough  information online. “I am still learning, every day. So far, I am very  happy with my progress.”

Shohei said his idea of the perfect lifestyle is doing  what you love every day, and he has done just that.  “My idea of life is to do whatever I like for living so I  always turn a hobby and things I like into a job.

“I want to keep cooking of course and I want to  keep doing this (leather work), and within the  week I might have one or two weekend nights that  I’m free so I can do private cooking, and that would  be awesome … just working for myself, from home,  doing things I like.

“I’m just doing things I like and I’m pretty happy.”

Check out Shohei’s products on Facebook or at