Leather Shortage

We’ve been having problems since Christmas trying to keep inventory of the Protectors in stock due to the inability to get quality leather in a timely fashion. The global market for leather has exploded with China using more and more as their economy grows exponentially while the cattle herds have dwindled to pre 1950’s levels due to the drought. Leather has become more scarce and the prices are constantly increasing. We’ve been told by our suppliers to look for another increase sometime in July. It’s a constant battle to maintain supplies at the best prices possible without sacrificing quality. We appreciate your patience during these difficult times and, no matter what the future may bring, we will maintain the quality you’ve come to expect from us.

We’ve had requests from folks to notify them when we have a certain size Protector back in stock. The easiest way to get an immediate notification as soon as a certain size is back in stock is to try and place an order for that size and, when the screen pops up to tell you it isn’t available, there will be a place you can click and add your email address to be notified as soon as the item is showing back in stock. Your email won’t be used for anything else… in fact, we don’t even see it as the whole emailing process is automatic as soon as we update the quantity on that item.

Thanks for your patience and your patronage,

Wes and Cher

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PS – Here’s an update to this post…

In our last post above we explained problems we’ve been having with production and getting quality leather.
We recently received this note from one of our leather tanners:

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“Cow hides hit historical high prices this week. As a global hide trader combined with a career in the upholstery leather business, both customers and tanners call me to ask, why do hide prices keep going up every week for the past few years? There is one main reason, China! The middle class in China now numbers over 300 million people. The Chinese middle class alone exceeds the entire population of the Unites States. Just 10 years ago China’s auto sales were 1.8 million new vehicles sold in 2003. January of 2014 China sold 2.16 million cars in one month! This puts them on track for some 25 million cars this year, outpacing the US by some 10 million more vehicles. You may be asking, “What’s this have to do with leather?” The answer is everything. Skyrocketing auto sales means more cowhides are needed to produce the leather interiors. The top choice raw material for automotive leather is American cowhides; now millions of cars are being produced, requiring millions of hides. The automotive industry consumption is a major factor contributing to demand for cowhides exceeding the supply. The new Chinese middle class prefers leather handbags, jackets, shoes, boots, briefcases, belts, wallets and furniture. The luxury brands like Louis Vuitton’s line the streets of China’s major cities like McDonalds do in the US. Retail is booming like wildfire. The combination of autos, personal leather goods and leather furniture demands make China the leather buying capital of the world. Last year alone hide prices were up some 20% over the previous year and now 2014 prices are up another 10%. As a major hide packer told me last week, “I have been in this business 30 years and never seen anything like what has happened the past few years, especially the past few weeks.”

An extremely harsh winter in parts of the United States, coupled with severe droughts in others, has kept ranchers from building their herds. Weather has sent feed prices soaring, making it much more expensive to raise cattle. The cowhide market has affected other leathers. Manufacturers are looking to deer, goat, and pigskin to fill the void. Unfortunately, the deer hunt this year was terrible. Again, weather was a huge contributing factor. It has just been “the perfect storm” for the leather market.”

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Now you know what we know. We appreciate your patience as we try to weather this storm.
Sincerely, Wes and Cher

5 thoughts on “Leather Shortage”

  1. Hello. I “snoozed and loosed”! Should have purchase the Heritage protector Gloves last year when I first learned about the product.

    I would like to be notified when you have size 9 available again. Good luck with your vendors.

    Stephen
    dapalu59@gmail.com

    1. Hi Sue,
      We don’t buy hides directly but through the company that cuts and sews our gloves. We choose the leather; design the gloves and finish them (snaps, straps, rivets, etc.) if they need it. The leather comes from large tanneries.
      Hope this answers your question,
      Wes

  2. Oh so sorry about your leather problems. Bad news. Especially since your gloves are made in America. We all need more of that.
    I need the protector gloves to prune my roses.
    I have been fighting cancer and need to protect my body from the battle scars that
    cause infections from the thorns. Your glove protector design would be perfect for me. Please let me know when size 8 is available.
    Good luck, and Thank you! Carolina

    1. Hi,
      We wish you well in your fight with cancer. The best way to be notified is to try and order a pair in that size and when the screen pops up to tell you they aren’t available, fill in your email address and the system will automatically notify you when the inventory is updated.
      Take care, Wes and Cher

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