Turning fantasy into a real business


By Tania Phillips

Jessica Perry has always loved to create, even as a kid if she wanted something and it didn’t exist she would find a way to make it, so it seems only natural that, as the daughter of a saddle maker, she would eventually start making things with leather.

What might have come as a surprise was what she and her husband Daniel actually make, though maybe not if you know them.

The Warwick-based couple make fantasy items through their company Axe and Rose Larpoury, selling them to fans at Warwick CelticFest, Witches markets and the Pop Culture festival Supanova in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

Their items from vambraces to teacup holsters are proving a huge success attracting fans from all over Queensland. They hope to expand into NSW in a few months with an appearance at the much bigger Sydney Supanova in June.

But while it all seems inevitable that this is what they would do – it all happened kind of by accident.

“My husband and I are third generation leather crafters, and he had a shoulder injury about a year and a half ago which meant he couldn’t do his work anymore,” Jess explained.

“He needed a hobby that would end up earning money.

“We both absolutely love fantasy, reading and watching it, and we were really really inspired by that love to find a way to combine it with our love of leather work.

“We met online about eight years ago now and we’ve been married for five years, one of the things that drew us together was our love for fantasy both reading and watching tv and everything like that.

“Dan is a third-generation leather crafter and I’m second generation – daughter of a saddle maker- and we have found that creating costumes with leather is something that we really enjoy doing. Our love for fantasy really inspired us all of the way through.

“I think we were watching The Seeker, The Wheel Of Time and Outpost when we got into this (fantasy leathermaking).

“Seeing their costume design and how much they worked with leather was really fascinating to me, seeing how they could incorporate it into different parts of outfits.

“We started off making keychains and small wallets and we were finding they weren’t selling at markets but then we 180’d on that one and went into teacup holders and vambraces and little pouches that you can pop on your belt.”

Their first market was at Celtic Fest in Warwick where the leather keychains failed to set the world on fire however their neighbouring stall owners – Midnight Ritual owners and wand makers, Jimboomba couple Liz and Phil encouraged them to embrace the fantasy side of their business.

“They encouraged us – they said if you want to do fantasy, do fantasy don’t try and play to everyone else’s likes. We’re still fantastic friends with them they really encouraged us,” Jess said.

They embraced the fantasy and whimsy and haven’t looked back since, in fact their most popular item is probably their most whimsical – teacup holsters.

“They were really the starting point on this fantasy journey,” Jess laughed.

“It was super flamboyant and super fun, I hadn’t seen much like them anywhere,” Jess said.

“They took forever to make a pattern. But it was something that was so unique and different that it was an instant hit.

“It is so cool to go to Supanova or witch markets and see someone wearing it – it’s amazing,

“We have people who come through every single market. We had someone at the Supanova last year who said they bought a ticket just to get in the door to see us. We were like – us? There was a Mandalorian and other stars there, you haven’t come to see them? You’ve come to see us?

“But yeah, having those repeat customers come around and show us what they are wearing and making outfits from our stuff, it’s just fantastic to see.”

While some leather makers concentrate on re-enactment quality leather goods. Jess and Dan’s creations are more for fantasy fans who just want costumes to wear.

“A lot of people wear our stuff to D&D (Dungeon and Dragons) nights, when they are meeting up with friends,” she said.

“There is still a LARPing community, that’s a Live Action Role Play Community, that meet in Brisbane and they will wear outfits there as well but most people will just wear them to the markets. We have a couple of guys, who dress up as plague doctors, who have bought stuff off us at every single witches market. Which is great.

“At the moment we sell mainly at the witches markets and Supanova and this year we’re doing the Collectors Market as well which is a little bit more Tabletop (game) focussed but we do have dice trays we’re going to try and sell there,

“The Collectors Market is 18-19 May at Eagleby and we have another market on the same weekend on the 18th, which is the Witches Markets on Bribie Island so Dan and I are going to be two places at once on the same weekend.”

The pair, who source all of their leather, buckles and belts from local Southeast Queensland businesses (for the added help and advice they receive as well as the quality of the products) moved to Warwick (and now to Legume to be closer to Jess’s dad and stepmother) for the climate.

“You have to be very very careful with leather because it’s a natural product and if it gets too hot its going to start going silly and if you get it in the sun it discolours so you have to be very very careful,” she said.

So, what next for their growing business?

“So far, we’ve only done Qld Supanova’s but we’re going down in June to the Sydney Supanova – this is our first year of actually leaving Qld to see how we go in a different state,” she said.

“It’s pretty exciting.

“There’s a big Dungeon and Dragons population down in Sydney.

“We have decided we have to triple our stock that we usually do for a Supanova. We’ve done modifications to our car, we now have a canopy on the back of our ute so we can fit triple the stock.”

Of course, their ultimate dream is to eventually have their leather work feature on shows like the ones they have loved and drawn inspiration from.

“That’s the dream, we would absolutely love to be picked up by a designer or something and have something of ours featured on a show, that would be absolutely amazing,” she said.