What is “quality leather”? Why are some leather products $2 a square foot while other products are $15 a square foot or more?
There are many factors that drive the price of leather. Lower prices do not necessarily translate into lower quality. Here are a few questions to consider before making your next leather purchase.
Where did the hides originate?
Where the hides originate plays a major role in the quality of the final product. In South America, the warmer, drier climate causes hides to have more bug bites and other flaws, resulting in lower cutting yields. Unfortunately, the demand for lower quality South American hides has contributed to the destruction of rainforests in Brazil. On the other hand, European hides, especially those from South Germany and Austria, provide the highest quality leather in the world. In Europe, artificial hormones are not used. Instead, the animals grow at a natural rate, resulting in tighter, stronger hides. In addition, ideal climate conditions reduce the number of bug bites and other flaws to the hide.
Where is the leather tanned?
Leather is tanned in Italy, China and in many parts of the world. However, not all countries have the same human rights concerns, equal pay, or environmental initiatives. Italy leads the world in producing the highest quality leather, while maintaining the highest standards for environmental responsibility.
What type of hide is being used?
Bull hides are larger and have a stronger fiber structure then cowhide. Therefore, products made from bull hide usually have a higher price point then those made from cowhide.
What is the quality of the raw material being used?
Upon arrival at the tannery, hides are inspected and separated into different grades based on the number of markings on each hide. Full grain products that maintain the natural grain require the highest grade of raw materials.
How is the product produced?
Leather production is a lengthy process. Producing one dyelot of leather may take between 8 to 12 weeks. In addition, some leather products require more procedures during the tanning process to achieve the characteristics of the end product. For example, a labor-intensive, time-consuming, manual technique is used to produce the unique two-tone effect of hand-tipped leather.
What additional costs does the company incur?
Some leather vendors are large, publicly owned companies with many employees and exclusive showrooms to maintain. Other leather suppliers are family-owned businesses with less over-head costs to pass on to the customer.
Garrett Leather offers superior quality, European, full grain, upholstery leather tanned in Italy. As an individually owned company, operation costs and overhead are carefully monitored, while customer service is a top priority. By specifying Garrett Leather, many designers are pleasantly surprised to find that they may purchase beautiful leather, receive superior service and pay reasonable prices, without sacrificing quality.