We took the time to pick his brains about the leather goods industry and how they integrate into the world of fashion.
1. Thanks for talking to us, Tom! Please do tell us a bit more about Beaufort.
Thank you for taking the time to interview me! Beaufort is a premium leather goods manufacturer. We specialise in the production of high quality small leather goods like wallets, card holders, belts and bags. Everything we produce is completely custom made to meet the specifications of our client, meaning we source all leathers and hides before refining prototypes and going ahead with bulk manufacture.
2. So you’re a leather goods manufacturer; that’s a niche business to be in. Why did you start Beaufort?
Beaufort isn’t our only business; we also run another company which specialises in the production of clothing. Our other company deals with a wide range of different clients in varying sectors of the fashion industry, and it became clear to us that there was a demand for our existing clients who were looking to offer accessories as a part of their ranges. Leather goods are a great addition to any fashion brand, so having recognised this opportunity and being passionate about leather goods ourselves, we decided to start manufacturing leather goods for our existing customers. As demand grew, we decided to make Beaufort it’s only entity in order to showcase fully our capabilities.
3. Who is your typical customer?
Because we offer the lowest minimum order quantity in the industry for fully custom leather goods, we naturally deal with a lot of start up brands, however they vary in style and structure. We work with some brands who specialise in only leather goods, and we have other customers who are using leather goods to add accessories to their existing clothing ranges. We also deal with some corporate clients and a good proportion of our business is built from merchandise and promotional materials for large companies.
4. What are the benefits of adding leather goods to a clothing brand?
Leather goods add an instant element of prestige to any clothing brand. As accessories which are traditionally found at the higher end of the fashion industry, leather goods instantly elevate the status of a brand and help to demonstrate to your customer that you’re a premium brand. Small leather goods which have been manufactured with an extremely high level of attention being paid to the leather selection, construction quality and lesser thought of details like interior suede, your brand ethos and identity can shine through.
5. How do you tell high quality leather goods?
High quality leather goods will consist of a premium leather type, and usually handcrafted construction, allowing the technician actually manufacturing the item to take special care over the small details and the quality of the stitching. The leather type used is a massive contributing factor to determine whether the leather goods are of a high quality. Full grain, vegetable tanned leather is the highest quality leather which can be used in the production of goods and you must take care around the terminology used by a manufacturer when describing the leather which may be used for your range. “Full grain”, “Top grain” and “Suede” are leather types which are derived from the raw hide, however “Genuine leather” or “Real leather” can be used to describe reconstituted leather which has been pulped and spread into a sheet which can be used for production. “Genuine” or “Real” leather is not used in high quality goods. Look for “Full” or “Top” grain leather if you’re looking for a high quality base material which will stand the test of time. You can read a bit more about the different leather types used in manufacturing here.