A few weeks ago we put together a Definitive Guide to ‘Made in England’ Menswear. On the back of such a successful response, together with our genuine passion for brands championing the ‘Made in England’ philosophy we went on the hunt to find some of the best British up and coming brands and to learn about their stories. Our search brought Billy Tannery to our attention.
Back in April, Billy Tannery, a new British leather brand was born. Founded by two entrepreneurs, Jack Millington and Rory Harker, the brand makes products from kid goat leather tanned in their small-batch tannery or ‘microtannery’ in the Midlands.
Billy Tannery began when Jack and Rory discovered that, due to the growth in demand for goat meat in the UK and the decline of the British leather industry, there were thousands of British goat hides going to waste. Now, having partnered with ethical goat meat supplier Cabrito, Billy Tannery use the leftover hides to produce premium vegetable tanned kid leather in their new tannery near Northampton.
The first leather brand of its kind in Britain, Billy Tannery are launching a range of luxury kid leather bags and accessories that are designed and handmade in Britain. The goal is to put an end to the waste of British goat hides by tapping into the rich leather heritage of the Midlands area. The first range of Billy Tannery products are now live on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.
[su_quote cite=”Jack Millington – Billy Tannery Founder”]After decades of decline, we believe that it is time for some fresh thinking in the British leather industry. We are passionate about taking this unwanted waste product and transforming it into unique and entirely British leather products.[/su_quote]
Personally I really appreciate all that this brand stands for and what they are looking to achieve. Their microtannery (much like a microbrewery) for example, although smaller than a regular tannery, allows them to focus on the details. The guys are able to concentrate on crafting higher quality materials, eventually producing high calibre, hand made products. What’s more is that by combining traditional vegetable tanning with modern leather technology, they are able to create beautiful, functional leather that does not compromise on sustainability.
After speaking to Jack it is clear he shares our passion for British industry and is determined to breathe some life back into the British leather industry. The reality is that much of the leather industry is a multi-continental trade, with hides travelling thousands of miles for tanning, finishing and finally to their end-use, but by keeping all of these processes here in Britain, it helps to minimise the “leather miles” and so further reduce the footprint of leather.
It’s clear that the brand are destined for great things, at the time of writing they have already far surpassed their initial target on Kickstarter – be sure to check out their page for more info and to keep track of their campaign during their final push.
(A special mention has to go out to one of my personal favourite products, the Gote bag – I do love a good pun).