image via J.M. Generals
Yep. We come face to face with our material.
I admit, I have an completely indefensible position on this. If I kept livestock, I would have a very hard time continuing to work with leather. I prefer animals to a lot of people, and that makes my livelihood uncomfortable, to say the least.
As with so many of my failings, I'll accept it and work to make up for the deficit:
1. Faux leather is not an option. We have no track record of the environmental mess its production leaves in its wake. It's another product that goes directly into the pockets of large petrochemical companies and I'm not into that.
2. We use veg-tanned leathers that are produced within 800 miles of us, supporting our "local" community and cutting on transport fuel cost and energy waste.
3. Our Italian leathers are by-products of animals used to food production. We are proud to encourage full use of the animal, and if that means the goods have to travel, that's the trade-off.
4. Vegetable tanning is an old process with a track record - we generally know what it does to the surrounding environment and its effects on the body in the process of tannage. Responsible tanneries take measures to protect their staff and we are loyal to those tanneries.
5. We make in small quantities. I don't know who supplies Coach or LV, but their output requires herds. Then add brands at lower price points and how many bags and belts they are making. That amounts to lots of cows, therefore lots of deforesting and lots of cow farts. Cow. Farts.
6. We're obsessed with waste and hand-cut to ensure the absolute highest yield we can manage without sacrificing leather quality. We keep scraps for re-use and develop designs that can use smaller pieces. It operates in a true economy, and saves myself from that very terrible feeling of throwing away an animal's hide. It's worse than throwing away the spoiled greens from that CSA you signed up for two summers ago.
7. We make it to last. We make it to be repaired. We make it to get better with age.
So thank you Daisy. I hope you were well-treated in life, and we promise to treat you well now.