Sustainable Luxury

February 20, 2014
Beautiful day on Waternish, Skye, Skyeskyns

Sheepskins in their most basic form are a by-product from the food and wool industries. We spend ten days transforming these specially selected waste skins to luxurious, beautiful and functional sheepskin rugs and throws using the traditional craft of tanning.

Leather too is a natural product with special characteristics making it comfortable to wear, strong yet soft and pliable. Because it is a natural product each piece has subtle variations of colour and markings making each piece unique in its physical characteristics and natural beauty.

Since we were established in 1983 we have worked closely with, and been monitored by, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and have never damaged the environment.

The underlying principle behind our establishing a small rural tannery in the Highland crofting counties over 30 years ago was inspired by realising that the local abattoir was disposing of the raw skins as waste because there was no market for them near Skye.  We were, and still are, crofters who at the time were being encouraged by the Crofters’ Commission to diversify in order to make small land holdings more sustainable in an area of fragile local economies.  As small scale sheep farmers, the principle of vertical integration was attractive.  So too the finished product:  wool is a natural insulator and will trap warm air keeping temperatures stable and baby or anybody warm. At the same time, as a natural fibre, wool absorbs moisture, which, when released, keeps you cooler, fresher, drier and more comfortable than any man-made fibre ever can. Why make unnecessary demands on the environment by using electricity or manufacturing artificial products to achieve what nature was offering freely?

Our production process is geared to have as little environmental impact as possible; from recycling our tanning agents, to reducing waste by salvaging off cuts and wool, we are continually evaluating our practices to ensure our approach to manufacturing is responsible. Each of our fleeces is hand finished which means we can guarantee the individual quality of every sheepskin we sell. Any that don’t make the grade are labelled ‘seconds’ and some end up as snug mats for pampered pets! In house, we take care to sort any remaining outgoing waste using our recycling bin for everything we can.

Furthermore, we are conscientious when sourcing any new products ensuring that, unless expressly mentioned, our merchandise is entirely made in the UK or Europe in a bid to support local industry. 
We are continually improving our environmental practice and 2015 will see some exciting and fresh developments in this field so watch this space!