The British leather industry has changed significantly in recent decades, but one thing our tanneries remain very good at is producing superior quality leather. There is a reason why Made in Britain products retain their popularity across the world.
Leather is the ultimate up-cycled material only made possible by another industry (meat and dairy production) - and as the trade association promoting the use of leather we don't want to see any of it going to waste. Sustainability is more than just a passing trend in the businesses of today, and we are increasingly asked what happens to the leather waste that doesn't make the grade for use in the first-class products the UK is known for.
As the trade association with close links with all of the British tanneries, we have access to the surplus material and until now have been supplying this to charities who can use this for educational and therapeutic purposes. We prefer to use the terms "surplus" or "excess" rather than "off-cuts" or "scrap", and would rather that instead of being made into a composite product, this beautiful material should be kept intact as much as possible.
We are creating an online trading platform we have code-named "Hide & Seek"; a resource for people to obtain small pieces of surplus leather direct from British tanneries and also to trade and swap leather with each other in a community of like-minded makers. We have been to many workshops stuffed full of beautiful leather that no-one can bring themselves to throw "away" (if there is such a place) - so our portal will connect people to available material and each other.
We're talking primarily British leather, small pieces and "seconds" - we really don't envisage any problems with wholesale competition. There's great British leather out there - let's share it.