As far as I know, Wickett & Craig is the last tannery producing veg tanned leathers on the East Coast. Located in central Pennsylvania, this tannery has been producing veg-tanned bovine leathers since 1867. Their longevity puts us to shame.
The Wickett & Craig leather is all about consistency and reliability - they produce a few lines in a few colourways and nothing extra; their dyes are rich all the way through; and customer service is no-fuss, no-muss. The fact that the tannery is fewer than 300 miles away from us is a bonus but what makes this business outstanding, in our opinion, is the high regard for their workforce. The majority of the 100+ employees are recruited locally, the company covers a responsible share of healthcare costs, and encourages staff to further their educations through programmes and tuition assistance. Their environmental standards are high, they buy the skins exclusively from North American cattle, and the product is recognized throughout the industry to be of the highest quality. We'd be stupid not to work with them.
We use Wickett & Craig's Bridle leathers, for their soft gloss, saturated dyes, and stiff hand. This materials is best served by styles requiring a robustness of shape (Siska, Brunella), good tension (belts) and moulded items (portfolios). The products, especially those that are wet- mounded to be coaxed into form, will be stiff from the outset, allowing them to naturally soften with use without losing shape. The colours and finishes are forgiving, and don't change much over time, making them a consistent, reliable material to work with.
Wickett & Craig works well for a small-batch business like ours, as they'll take smaller orders - we can order a hide at a time as long as it's a stocked product. They'll even split the hides for us and that's the key to our relationship. Most American tanneries stock their leathers in high thicknesses, about 4mm, which is just too heavy for most of our designs. If the tannery wasn't able to split their stocked hides into thinner material for us, we'd have to revise the design or find another source. So I'm grateful that one of America's last tanneries is so accommodating of our little endeavour and it's a pleasure to work with their goods, everyday.
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