Our bags are made using locally sourced products, hardware and tools because they're great quality. Supporting local businesses also ensures a stable and diverse economy, rich with skills and job opportunities in the artisan craft and manufacturing sectors.
We've been researching intensively over the past year to find the most attractive, durable and sustainable local supplies for CARV bags and we're happy to share our findings below. We will keep this list updated as we discover more so do check back regularly, and do let us know if you have any recommendations.
All our photographs are shot by Olivier Barjolle - He is creative, meticulous and comes up trumps every time.
traditional leather producers (known as tanneries) are becoming increasingly scarce in the uk, but they produce such beautiful quality leather from low impact techniques that their complete loss would be a tragedy. Here are some lovely places to support if you can stretch to it:
J&FJ Baker and Co have a beautiful set up in Devon with the last remaining oak bark tannery. Their website is worth a visit to get an insight into the amazing 90 day process of traditional leather production.
Thomas Ware & Sons is one of the biggest remaining traditional tanneries in the UK. Based in the west of England, this family run business supplies the highest quality leathers.
LEATHER STOCKISTS & MERCHANTS
Sadly there are very few remaining leather merchants that you can pop into to view before you buy, but we have found a couple of places (both online and with accessible warehouses) that stock leathers from UK tanneries or import from italy and abroad.
Visit JT batchelor in Dalston for an Aladdin's cave of leather, hardware and tools. Get yourself behind the counter and out the back to experience the full array of leather rolls. And be sure to visit during the week as these boys don't work weekends.
Metropolitan Leather Co is an long established company operating since 1919, which finishes leather by hand in the UK. Their veg tanned leathers are beautiful and they provide a comprehensive samples board for free so you can touch before buying.
S.C.Hall and Son is a family run businesses who used to operate from central London but have since moved away. We love their honest approach and invitation to visit the warehouse.
Ed Tanner have a great looking website and reassuring guarantees about the quality of the leather.
FITTINGS AND HARDWARE
it is really tricky to find good quality hardware (buckles, eyelets, studs etc) that is produced in the uk. Typically the best things come from saddlery suppliers who tend to favour brass and durable quality that works well with bag making.
Abbey England is a favourite of mine. They have a wide product range and are lovely and helpful. Best to get hold of a catalogue to understand the full range as the website can be tricky.
JT batchelor stocks good quality brass fittings at great prices. You can visit the warehouse in Dalston to browse the shelves for the fittings that best meet your needs.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES
J Hewit & Sons are suppliers of fine leathers for bookbinding, but they also supply leatherworking tools, equipment and sundries. They have a useful steel set square that is perfect for marking and cutting 45 degree angle corners.
ARTISANS are suppliers of embossing stamps and related services. They also supply bespoke Arbor Presses for pressing stamps and holes into leather. While this is an expensive piece of kit, it is a brilliant alternative to hammering to provide a clean press.
Axminster Tools are a tool and machinery supplier. Their long straight edge is excellent for getting a neat cut where you need a long straight edge.
R Murphy shoe and leather knives are second to none with a find blade that gives a clean cut. We use their square point shoe knife. Unfortunately they are based in the Us but we are yet to find a comparable UK based alternative - thoughts welcome!