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Small production runs are beautiful

Croco with a smooth mineral-effect finish from France Croco

To ensure ever greater exclusivity, the luxury sector is constantly seeking to innovate whilst maintaining a certain intimacy. Suppliers to the sector, tanneries in particular, are therefore regularly requested to develop new materials, sometimes in very limited editions. “Demands for small production runs from luxury labels are becoming more and more frequent…they demonstrate the trust our clients have in us,” comments Enrico Chiesa from the Italian tannery Italhide. Tanneries Roux are also often faced with this, “like all tanneries these days”, explains Alain Hustache, “for restocking, for slight modifications or for a special order.” “Increasingly often, labels are offering to make bespoke items for their VIP customers, in the colours of their choice,” explains Jean-Charles Duchene of Mégisserie Alric. “The leading fashion houses need some skins to produce prototypes for their catwalk shows,” adds Michael Perez, the managing director of France Croco.

To meet these recurring requests, tanneries reorganise their workload “by assigning the limited production run to a specific employee,” explains Enrico Chiesa, or by “allocating the small drums to these limited production runs,” explains Jean-Charles Duchene. “In this way, we are able to deliver the items within two weeks, if the request is for a special finish, or in a just a few days for a new colour.” Some deadlines cannot be shortened, however, particularly for crocodile skins “where some patinas require four or five hours of work per skin,” explains Michael Perez. “However, these conditions can also have an impact on quality, which can vary, unlike the mass production of skins in large drums,” warns the industry professional from Tanneries Roux.

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Perforated ostrich from Italhide, made to order
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Perforated Cayman from Italhide with a Hydri finish
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Croco studded with diamond dust from Italhide