Following a successful career in brand, design and theatre, Mia Sabel left her job in the City to retrain as a Saddler. The subsequent award of a QEST Scholarship in 2010 allowed Mia to complete her saddle and bridle qualifications as well as refine and augment her skill-set in other leather-related heritage crafts.From her Walthamstow workshop in East London, Mia - now a fully Qualified Saddler trading as SABEL Saddlery - creates high quality hand-made, hand-stitched and hand-finished classic leather products, each inspired by traditional techniques and materials.
In addition to funding for training, a QEST Scholarship has created numerous other opportunities for Mia; her work has been commissioned by several Royal Warrant Holders including Fortnum & Mason, Anton Mosimann and Holland & Holland. Through QEST Mia has also showcased her work at Buckingham Palace, The Goodwood Festival of Speed, Craft London and The Royal Windsor Horse Show. Mia has also been featured in a 6 page spread in Art & Craft & Design and an article in Country Living.
Particularly memorable moments include being presented, with her signature Stirrup Bag, to HM The Queen at Fortnum & Mason and jumping (for charity) from 13,000ft with the Red Devils Tandem Sky Dive Team, raising £1,000 for QEST in the process. In 2014 Mia was awarded a place on the Walpole Crafted Mentorship Programme, launched with an exhibition in The Royal Academy. She is being mentored by Robert Ettinger, CEO of Royal Warrant Holder Ettinger: manufacturers of Leather Goods. This process has encouraged her to concentrate on building her bespoke watch strap service and seeking more corporate bespoke commissions.
Whilst developing her own range of unique products, Mia, supported by her own network of makers and manufacturers, continues to offer product prototyping and consultancy to a select set of clients and deliver some small batch production where appropriate. Some of her more challenging commissions and collaborations include gloves for Madame Tussauds, lighting for Stuart Haygarth and furniture for Peter Linnett. Mia has recently returned from Hot Shop 007 in Amsterdam - an intensive workshop hosted by Ecco Leather in their own R&D Tannery, where several teams develop, prototype and produce new types of leather in just 3 days.