In discussion with Eleanor Paulin, creator of our leather goods
It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of the Tempesti Tannery in Italy. We talk to Creative Director, Eleanor Paulin, regarding what makes them special and other inspirations behind the range.
Where did you first come across Tempesti leathers?
We source leather from a range of fantastic tanneries, including Clayton’s, who produce a great quality bridle leather in England. We first came across Tempesti when looking for a suitable strap material for the Geo Mini watch range. We wanted something fun and colourful, but also of a high quality and which would improve with age. We were so delighted with the leather by the Tempesti tannery that we wanted to go beyond our usual watch straps and create a range of leather products!
What makes Tempesti leather special?
I think the fact that they’re a family-run business, and that they’ve been perfecting leather-making techniques for so many generations was appealing to us... but most important by far is the look and feel of the leather itself, and in Tempesti’s case it really stands apart from what most other tanneries are doing at the moment.
...and what about the vegetable tanning?
Yes, we’re always very keen to use ethical business practices, so vegetable tanned leather is a must for us. Many leathers are coloured using chrome-tanning which involves environmentally damaging chromium salts. Veg tanning is not only better environmentally, but we think the leather itself has a richer, more natural finish, which improves with age.
Do you have any favourite features in the range that you would recommend?
Hidden details like the blocks of bright colour inside the Navy Bifold card holder were lots of fun to include, while the orange leather used on one of the square wallets I think is really bold and striking. Sometimes simple things work best though, externally, the document holder is just an expanse of navy or green leather, but the material is of such a quality that an understated exterior really works on these!
How long does it take to create a range of leather goods?
Well... my initial sketches were mostly done at the start of the year - but it wasn’t until March that we progressed from there to making initial physical prototypes. The prototypes then need to go through numerous rounds of vigorous physical testing, and we also cast our critical eyes over the design at each stage. All in all, we generally would go through three-to-four rounds of prototypes before getting to something that we’re happy with. In this case the entire process took nine months from start to finish and involved many late nights with scalpel and sewing machine! We’re delighted with the results though, so it all feels worthwhile in the long run.
...and how long will the products themselves last?
The Tempesti leathers that we use are full grain, meaning that rather than wearing out over time, they will improve and develop a patina with age. As they are unsanded, no two pieces of full grain leather are identical, and it’s only through regular usage that the unique characteristics of each individual piece will fully emerge. Only about 5% of leathers produced worldwide, can be selected as full grain, so we are delighted to be able to work with such quality materials on a daily basis.
Who will use these leather goods, and why?
The great thing about creating a range is there can be something in it for everyone. The card holders are £30 so are a great entry point, for younger customers, with an interest in British watch design, but who don’t yet feel able to splash out on one of our watches.
The document holders, meanwhile, are a little more pricey, because of the amount of material used, and the detailing of the suede interior, but they’re perfect for our older customers, wanting something to transport paperwork to and from business meetings!
Is there anything that you would do differently with them if you were to go back and restart the project?
There’s not really anythign I’d do differently, but I’d certainly like to add to the leather goods range in the future!
Paulin’s leather goods range is available now, exclusively through our website and in our Glasgow concept store.