Stand Up for Quality

Long-term value comes from investing in products that delight customers, says John Thorp.

I started the Leather Business 17 years ago and at that stage we were buying from an Indian manufacturer.

Some 10 years ago we decided to set up our own factory in India as it gave us more control and increased opportunities.

It is frightening to think that I have been in the promotional gift industry for nearly 40 years. One of the things I’ve learned in this time is that higher quality products stand the test of time. If you are giving a gift you want it to be used, and used for a long time.

Cost effective advertising

I was recently asked by a fellow industry veteran if I could make him an organiser to match one he was given 30 plus years ago. He sent the original to copy-it was falling apart but he insisted that we return it as he couldn’t bear to throw it away. The organiser probably cost £530 years ago. That’s 17p per year – how about that for cost effective advertising.

Our range of leather products are functional, have a high perceived value and are long-term personal gifts. They therefore should not be sold or marketed as a commodity. We have a range of more than 150 leather and faux leather products but have also noticed an increased trend in bespoke manufacture. As we have our own factory we can offer visuals, spec samples and full production in as little as four weeks.

Educating distributors

There is a pre-conception that the end user cannot afford a quality leather item which means that it not promoted by the distributor. Our new Prestbury Faux Leather Collection has the look and feel of a really expensive leather but the affordability of a good quality PU.

Our factory in India has grown from 6,ooo sq ft with 40 employees to 25,000 sq ft and 400 employees. This year it will ship to six different countries. Our factory is an open book and we welcome anyone to visit at any time, even unannounced. We are always striving to improve all aspects of our business including our ethical and environmental performance.

John Thorp is the managing director of the Leather Business

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