My name is Igor Balabanov, and I've been making leather goods since 2013. Leathercraft started for me simply as a hobby. It was after about two years of working with the leather that I decided to launch the Balabanoff brand.
Our logo is a saker falcon, a type of one of the largest and heaviest hunting falcon species. Found most commonly in Eastern Europe. In Ukrainian, its name is “balaban”, which is why those known for breeding and training these creatures were commonly called Balabanov.
We give the leather form and function.
I have one simple goal: to make quality, aesthetic and functional lifestyle leather goods from the finest leather and hardware.
It all started with a love of leather. I always liked it - how it looks, how it smells, and how it feels to the touch. Since working with the best materials is imperative, I went through a lengthy process of choosing the leather types and manufacturers. Ultimately choosing the legendary Horween Tannery from Chicago.
More than a century ago, Isidor Horween emigrated to the United States from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, settling in Chicago. He founded the Horween Leather Company, which remains a family business to this day, and where leather is manufactured and refined using the same careful craftsmanship and tanning recipes their founder perfected in the early 20th century.
I diligently make each item with such quality as if you were standing next to me watching over the process as I produce your order.
When I emboss my logo on each finished product, I wish that instead of shipping it, I could hand deliver the item directly, looking its buyer in the eyes. With my name and my brand on it, my merchandise represents me and the care I put into manufacturing it.
It is my belief that owning meaningful goods made from the finest materials and that bring us joy is far superior to owning something that is simply functional. These are the kinds of items that develop sentimental value, the kinds of items we end up telling our friends stories about.
For many people, things like a leather bag, a wallet, a backpack, a pen, a pocket knife, or a watch become a faithful friend always at your side. These things prevail beyond years, distances, and both the good and bad events in our life. To some degree, little actions like polishing the crystal on a favorite watch, feeling the weight of brass furnishings in your hand, and experiencing the warmth and scent of quality leather are what transform an item into keepsakes.
So I create a bag or a wallet, not because you have nowhere to carry a notebook or have no pocket. I create these items because they are a part of lifestyle.
Man cannot live by bread alone: we want something delicious! In that vein, Balabanoff products are for when you‘re hungry not for ordinary bread, but for a fresh croissant.
Our products are all personally handmade here in Ukraine. We work not only within the Balabanoff Leather Goods company, but also in collaboration with other talented craftsmen and -women. We work with leather, wood, and metal, manufacturing wallets, handbags, shoes, and accessories. We sell at trade shows, and fairs in major cities within Ukraine, well as online across more than 45 countries, to private and corporate customers. While our studio may seem relatively small, we are filled with a team of talented professionals, and continue to expand as our sales grow!