The last decade or so, the luxury leather industry has been experiencing some interesting times. According to Bain & Company, a business consulting group that studies retail trends, in 2015, the global luxury leather accessories business reached revenue levels nearing $46 billion. The competition in this space is at an all-time high with not only introducing continuous new products from high end brands and mass producers, yet even Etsy handcrafters produce and sell beautiful bespoke products that give consumers of all walks of life, opportunities to find something unique from talented Artisans. This explosive trend has transformed established companies and put new designers on the map, subsequently, it has also brought about a shortage in the supply side of quality leather.
The trend of more artists entering the leather world has made it more critical for entrepreneurs or companies in the luxury accessory business to continually step up their game; to offer near perfect skins to support the high price tags on their designer and high end handbags.
As Beau Satchelle continues to search for the best in exotic skins for our own products, the research and work that goes into sourcing has educated us on how the larger design houses are taking more control of sourcing leathers for their products. 10-20 years ago, the market was dominated by a few iconic brands which included Coach, Hermes, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Currently, the number of high end designers range from Chanel to Bottega Veneta to Givenchy to name a few; along with mega brands LVMH, Kering and Richemont. It is a highly competitive and crowded field and what drives high end designers to offer high mark-ups on their bags comes down to presenting a superior material.
So how can a superior material be produced? In a nutshell, control the supply. That is, manage the environment of the raw materials, keep the superior leather and sell the lower qualities to third parties. The large brand houses are making acquisitions of the few tanneries (for the most part European) that can produce and protect the quality of their supply chain. Some leathers are only produced for specific brands (ie. Hermes) that tanners are restricted from displaying at tradeshows.
These brands practice “vertical integration”, meaning that every aspect of the design of leather products is brought in-house to give brands a competitive advantage and develop a marketing campaign to show sustainability, uniqueness and superior quality. In other words, “the farm to the handbag” concept ensures that the skins obtained from their calves, alligators/crocodiles, and python farms to manage animal welfare standards while controlling an environment, will produce quality hides. This becomes more important as the next generations of luxury consumers demand companies be even more responsible to sustainability.
Due to our size, Beau Satchelle can’t compete with the buying power of global brands, but we are just as conscious and committed to sourcing skins from vendors who sell beautiful hides and are dedicated to working with communities that consume these certain animals for food and other resources so that the skin becomes a by-product. Our expectations with suppliers is to perform good practices with regards to their sustainability, waste and ability to support the community they source. Farms dedicated exclusively to Beau Satchelle is a lofty goal but we believe, attainable as we continue to grow. -AJ
Thanks to the go to website for blog content on the Business of Fashion (www.businessoffashion.com)
Mark Your Calendars: In a collaborative event, our wine accessories will be showcased at House of Pure Vin, Detroit on Sunday, March 18th from 3:00 to 6 pm. If you are in the downtown Detroit area on the 18th, meet Beau Satchelle in person, taste select wines selected by HOPV’s in-house international Sommelier and view our latest luxury wine accessories.