Business is belting along for 10-year-old Bassie
For some, lockdown boredom has been a horrible thing, but for 10-year-old Sebastiaan van der Linde the boredom bug led him to start his own small business.
Launching Bassie Belts (for boys) at the beginning of the month, Sebastiaan, who is fondly known as Bassie by friends and family, has spent much of lockdown perfecting the art of making full-grain leather belts by hand.
“I wanted a proper belt like my dad’s,” Sebastiaan, who is in Grade 4 at Laerskool Nahoon, said.
“The belts you get for boys at clothing stores crack and peel very quickly because it’s not real leather, and I don’t like that.”
After making his own belt, with some guidance from his dad, Sebastiaan was eager to make more — and earn a bit of pocket money while doing so.
Sebastiaan can now almost always be found at his mom’s kitchen table, tinkering away and making belts to complete all his orders.
He puts a lot of concentration and hard work into each belt, making sure each is of the best quality.
Mom and dad Nicola and Werner offer a little help along the way, but Sebastiaan does most of the handiwork on his own.
“My mom cuts the strips of leather from a side of full-grain vegetable-tanned leather. I then measure the belts to size, mark and punch the holes, and dye the leather,” Sebastiaan said.
Once the leather has dried, Sebastiaan rivets the buckle in place and rubs in leather balm to finish off each product.
“It was all Bassie’s idea,” Werner said. “He made his own belt and after successfully doing so he really wanted to make more.
“We obviously helped him put things in place. His mom runs his Facebook and Instagram page and takes orders.
“I just do a quick quality check after he is done with a belt, but that’s it.”
Watching his dad — a leatherwork hobbyist — over the years, Sebastiaan has learnt a few tricks of the trade, and always attempted to make his own creations.
“I always liked to watch and to play with the scraps while my dad was working, and picked up the basic skills like that. I can’t even remember the first thing I tried to make out of leather. I think it was a bracelet,” he said.
“To me it is more fun than work. I really enjoy it and I am always excited when I’ve got a new order. I enjoy the fact that I’m making something and I like working with my hands and with tools.”
Now that schools have opened up once again, Sebastiaan does his best to juggle his schoolwork and Bassie Belt orders, but his eagerness often gets the best of him, and he rushes home straight after school to get to work.
“He is committed to his little business like a champ and we are extremely proud of him,” Nicola said. “All this being said, school and homework still comes first.”
She sometimes struggles to get him to change out of his school uniform before he delves into his belt-making.
We feel it is important not to help with production as we want him to keep on being genuinely proud of every belt he makes and for Bassie Belts to stay just that, belts made by Bassie.
“We feel it is important not to help with production as we want him to keep on being genuinely proud of every belt he makes and for Bassie Belts to stay just that, belts made by Bassie.”
Nicola said both she and Werner viewed Sebastiaan’s little business as a great way for him to learn valuable life lessons.
“We view it as a good opportunity for him to learn the value of hard work and money and saving, all while having fun.”
Bassie Belts are mainly for primary school boys, but do go up to adult size. Each is custom made with specific measurements and can be dyed either brown or black.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.