We are often asked about who makes our products and about the origins of our leather – so, I am excited to share more of the story with you, because I haven’t had the opportunity to write about this since my last trip to China at the end of 2019.
If you have been following along on the Alf journey you would know back in the beginning, before I had launched the brand I traveled to Bali to try to have my design created… and boy was it a disaster. The quality of both the leather and manufacturing was awful, I wasn’t convinced of the ethics of the factories, I got ripped off and left with a pit in my stomach I just couldn’t shake.
Quality and both business and manufacturing ethics are really important to me – and I know it’s a really big purchasing factor for customers (just like you!) so looked back towards our own shores as well as India, China and Vietnam and rated them for ethical practices, quality of leather, manufacturing processes and professionalism and of course price. After much analysis nothing compared with the great reputation of leather artisans in Guangzhou China.
I realise many people may roll their eyes about being ‘made in China’ however, I am actually proud to say our products are made by ethically run family leather tailoring businesses, who pride themselves in producing quality products and having teams of happy employees.
And I’ll tell you what. I have seen it with my own eyes. When I visited our workshop and the end of last year I popped my head into the production area and the gals and guys who were cutting and sewing were happily chatting to each other whilst bobbing along to dance music! No joke.
If you want to get the DL on that trip read this blog here.
I speak to my production manager King in Guangzhou daily. He is a very well educated English speaking father of one little boy who is now eight months old and is just learning to crawl. King is two years younger than me and we have become great friends - I am often chatting to him about baby sleep patterns and the milestones his son has reached... and naturally King and his team are now an extension of our team here in Perth. In fact, I have such a close business relationship/friendship with him, gifts are sent between our families for Chinese New Year, Christmas and birthdays.
When it comes down to the materials, the leather we use is a bi-product of the food industry and is sourced and processed by tanneries with sustainable and ethical production standards.
This sourcing process actually makes me so happy, because using leather which is a bi-product of the food industry is reducing environmental waste by creating a sustainable use for the hides - which would otherwise have been sent to landfill.
Another great thing to note is because leather is a sustainable material in its own right, unlike PU and many vegan leathers it isn’t man-made and will break down naturally over time, it ages gracefully, each piece is completely unique and it’s naturally strong beyond its faux cousins.
We use top-grain pebbled calf leather as the primary material on our Alf Originals bags. This leather is made from the strongest, highest quality part of the hide and an embossing technique is used during the tanning process to create the pebbled texture.
We also use premium spot printed and plain dyed fur, which is also produced from cowhides. No exotic animals here.
Our Alf Active range uses ostrich stamped leather trims made from quality cowhide – the calf leather is embossed to appear like the genuine Ostrich leather you would see on well-known luxury accessories.
Hopefully that gives you a great insight into the care and love I take to produce our range of leather bags and accessories. Thanks for reading – and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to email or DM us!