A trained journalist, Shelagh Davy first joined Leather International in 1974 when it was part of Benn Publications as its Fashion Editor, based at its Fleet Street office in central London. She relocated with the magazine to Tonbridge in Kent during the 1970s and was appointed as Editor in 1987.
Davy heard of her promotion while she was working at the APLF in Hong Kong. She occupied role for 21 years until retiring in February 2009 and is still the magazine’s longest serving Editor. She remained as Consultant Editor for the publication after her retirement before stepping back altogether a few years ago.
At her retirement party in 2009, she was presented with a special purple (her favourite colour) leatherbound copy of the magazine, with the leather provided by Pittards.
During her career, Shelagh Davy attended hundreds of industry events, trade fairs and visited tanneries all over the world. She recalled the opening of the PrimeAsia tannery in Dongguan, China and the Ecco Leather tannery in Xiamen, China as two of the most impressive she visited.
However, it was the now closed Salz Leather tannery in Santa Cruz, California which she said was her favourite, combined with her friendship with the Lezin family who owned the company at the time.
Martin Ricker, Content Director of International Leather Maker, said: “I succeeded Shelagh Davy as Editor of Leather International in 2009 after working for her on and off for almost 20 years. She was a real character, had a brilliant sense of humour and taught me so much about publishing and how the international leather industry works. She was my mentor, and I will miss her enormously.”
Under her editorship, she launched the Limeblast comment column, written by Sam Setter. On hearing of the news of her death, he wrote the following: “Back in 1999, I wrote to Shelagh Davy about how a Canadian trader of wet-salted Costa Rican and Dominican hides had defrauded some buyers in Europe by loading containers with salt and keeping the salt from view with a stack of hides at the container doors.
“Shelagh published my complaint and caused the Canadian to leave the hide business. Shelagh liked the way I wrote and asked me to write some more of my leather business experiences. I did, and that’s how Limeblast and Sam Setter started. We have remained in contact and her passing saddens me immensely. She was one of the pillars of the editorial part of the leather industry.”
Known for her love of purple jewellery and clothing, she was a popular person both with work colleagues as well as with people throughout the global tanning industry.