Meet the maker

My name is Nicklas Levis. I am from Hobart, Tasmania and now live in the NSW Southern Highlands. I have a beautiful wife and children of whom I love dearly. 

I’ve always been a hands-on kind of guy. Growing up, I’d tinker in my dad’s and grandad’s workshops – they built everything from furniture, to little nick nacks around the home and even a boat! That’s where my love of making things started. Life took me down the professional path and I spent time in the office, but my heart always yearned for something different. So I, took the risk and made the leap into turning my passion into my craft. Now, I’m all about creating useful things in my Southern Highlands workshop. Seeing someone truly enjoy something I’ve made with my own hands… that’s the best feeling.

I believe in doing things right. That means time-honored techniques, no shortcuts, and the best materials I can find. You can feel the difference in a handmade piece.

How it all started

From my mixed heritage of Swedish & Australian, my parents opened the first Stuga store at Salamanca, Hobart, Tasmania back in 1986. They were a young couple with a dream: my father, an Australian man with a deep passion for design and crafting with his hands, and my mother, a Swedish woman with a keen eye for fashion, particularly in knitwear and the craftsmanship of wool. Their combined talents and passions have been passed down to me.

As a family-owned business, we’ve been designing and handcrafting functional products from wood, leather, wool, and metal for the world for over 30 years. From the initial design to the final handcrafted product, I take immense pride in ensuring every step of the process is carried out with precision, resulting in products of the highest standard. Stuga has now found its home at The Rocks in Sydney, and we’ve expanded our reach internationally through our online store.

I am proud to continue the legacy of offering handmade Australian products, from our family to yours, ensuring each piece carries the essence of our mixed heritage and the dedication of my parents’ dream.

My passion

Creating things by hand is something I genuinely love. It’s about taking raw materials and turning them into something special and unique. For me, it’s not just about the end product; it’s the process of making it that’s really satisfying. Each piece tells its own story because of the personal touch I put into it. It’s also seeing the smile it brings to people when they really appreciate the effort that goes into everything I handmake. 

When it comes to doing things the “right” way, it’s pretty straightforward for me. It’s about taking the time to make sure everything’s done properly, not rushing through just to get it done. My parents taught me the value of craftsmanship, and I’ve always believed that if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right. This means choosing quality over speed and making sure every detail is perfect.

Sustainability is something I take seriously. It’s about being mindful of where our materials come from and how we use them. I try to source materials locally where possible and look for options that are not only good for the planet, but from other businesses that treat their people, like real people. I always aim to buy from Australian manufacturers. It’s important to me that we’re not just making great products but also doing our bit to look after the environment and each other.

My vision

At Stuga, which translates to “cottage” in Swedish, my mission is to simplify and enhance daily life through the design and handcrafting of bespoke leather and woodwork pieces, along with artisan remedies. Drawing inspiration from my Scandinavian ancestors, I place a strong emphasis on design, form, and the fine details that truly make a piece stand out.

My approach to creating bespoke leather pieces is driven by the question, “How can we make life easier?” I select only the highest grade, premium local leathers that are light, strong, and highly desirable, all sourced from local artisan Australian tanneries renowned for their expertise. Working with the best materials means there’s never any need to compromise on quality.

In the realm of grooming, I draw inspiration from the art of traditional grooming, adding a modern twist to create products that offer a simple yet effective grooming ritual. I’ve sourced the finest materials and raw ingredients to craft and design products like hand-turned authentic badger bristle shaving brushes, artisan timber shaving brushes, hand-poured shaving soaps, and hand-blended beard oils & beard balms. These products have become staples in the grooming stations of my clients.

I firmly believe that good practical design evolves into timeless, classic design.