Leila Sanderson is the business owner, designer and maker at Skinny Wolf. Leila always wanted to own a shop and finally in 2014 she opened Skinny Wolf. Leila lovingly hand makes ribbon rosettes using an18th Century millinery technique in the rotational symmetric design, quilts, a range of locally printed soft furnishings and floral art prints. The name Skinny Wolf came from two nicknames – Skinny for her slight build and Wolf because she a fierce defender of getting paid (find out more about this below).
Originally from Nottinghamshire in the United Kingdom, Leila was born into a family of pie makers, shopkeepers, healers, traders & debt collectors! She spent her formative years living in an ex-mining town called Ilkeston, in Derbyshire, which has its own dialect and where the locals greet each other with “hey up ‘me duck ya ‘rate?” and the women folk fight in the town square of a night. Leila has always been creative and as a child loved playing house, dressing up, drawing, picking flowers, playing in the mud and reading fairy tales. If she’s honest, she still does. Leila attended a Rudolf Steiner School, then two local colleges before running away to Art School in London at age 19.
While Leila loved Art School she felt it didn’t really prepare her for the workforce. Life in the Big Smoke was supported by working in restaurants and after meeting and marrying a chef Leila moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1999. Her work in hospitality lasted until 2009 (the husband didn’t) and Leila sees this period as a fun, crazy time in her life where she learnt a lot about human nature.
In 2009 Leila started working for her friend, landscaper and furniture maker Greg Hatton after persuading him to give her a job. She had been working in accounts for a big hospitality company for a while (where she learnt to be the “Wolf”) and needed to get back to being creative. Leila became a self confessed “accidental florist” in 2010 after Greg met florist Katie Marx. The three found themselves installing a wedding together and the rest as they say is history. Working from her dining room table, you will find Leila surrounded by the flowers that are a huge part of her life, and spools of thread and rare vintage ribbons that form her rosettes by precisely folding grosgrain ribbon anchored with intricate stitches and knots.
Leila’s work has been featured on The Design Files as well as in group exhibitions. Leila has always loved to collaborate creatively and is excited and honoured to have her exquisite rosettes included on Story of Things alongside so many other great creators. Skinny Wolf rosettes are for celebrating life’s milestones, saying thanks or just for showing off.
Shop Leila's beautiful creations here.