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High Point (NC), U.S.
We always used to say that the one truism in the leather industry was that all hides and skins were turned, one way or other, into leather. Certainly, here and there in the world some skins were eaten instead, or the collection system was so poor that some were missed altogether, but overall it was always true. That is until the 21st century.
When the automobile industry went from high speed to zero at the height of the financial meltdown, we uncovered a lack of curing capability to allow storage of unwanted hides and, briefly, here and there in the world, they were put into landfill.
Much of this problem could be put down to over efficient, and very naive, management of the supply chain by the super dynamic executives in the automobile chain.
Today, we appear to be seeing something different with leather clothing. Consumers are not buying. Not just the black pigmented commodity jackets and waistcoats but the more fashionable items too. Some of the luxury brands are simplifying ranges and moving prices down in the hope of halting a slide but a lot of raw sheepskins are becoming hard to move. A sizeable impact was expected as a result of the situation with Russia, and the Chinese slowdown added to it but, at the end of the day, this is about both overall consumer expenditure and consumer choice.
This is a message to those who fear marketing leather on the basis that it can only raise the price of the raw material, since as they said all leather is easily sold. In reality, leather is in competition with many materials and every single alternative is marketed more professionally and more aggressively than leather.
This is why we need to put more effort into Leather Naturally! and give the industry the chance to see what can be achieved with a dynamic, responsive and aggressive promotional activity over an extended period; one not limited by national dimensions nor hemmed in by traditional thinking. Our target audience is under forty; they speak a different language all over the world. It is digital not conventional.
17th February 2016
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