Skyeskyns is first and foremost anchored in the landscape we live in. The busines began as a small project to make use of our own skins, from the lambs on our croft, which we had realised were treated as waste by our local abattoir. Thirty-five years later, we are still making use of this waste product of the meat industry and transforming it into beautiful handcrafted and hand finished products which can be enjoyed by customers for many years. One of our proudest achievement is to maintain an age-old craft and sharing it with new generations and visitors to the tannery every day.
Through our private tan service, we offer farmers, crofters and smallholders the opportunity to tan the skins of their own sheep and lambs coming back from the abattoir, completing the circle of production and making use of every aspect of the animal.
Of course, what began as a small crofting diversification project has grown into something much bigger but our ethos of looking after the land and its resources and of treading carefully hasn't changed. We still make use of skins from our local abattoir, we recycle our tanning agents, we use all the offcuts we can to turn into other products, fill our cushions or simply insulate our building, and we recycle everything we can think of. This includes recycling good quality cardboard boxes we receive products in and using them to parcel up customer orders, or minimising printing and re-using scrap paper and wrappings in the office and post room. We have moved to using biodegrable plastic bags (which have a very low environmental footprint) to pack fleeces in for dispatch and plastic tape has been replaced by brown paper tape. Our packing beads and postal bags will also be biodegrable within the next two to three months. Our new electric van is arriving next month and there will soon be an electric car charging point just outside the tannery in Waternish.
Our approach to sustainability includes choosing clothing, accessories and other suppliers based in the UK and in Europe, usually small to medium-sized businesses who share our ethos and our approach to quality, sustainability and craftmanship. It is important for us to know where other fleeces comes from, where the wool for jumpers is sourced, where and how leather is tanned. We pride ourselves in selecting excellent products which meet our standards and practices. We believe in a slow fashion approach, selling beautiful clothing made with care which can be worn and kept for many years, staying stylish without giving up on sustainability.
We are also on the way to transforming our tanning methods so we can minimise our impact on the environment and increase production without any adverse effect on effluents. Watch this space as we move to biodegradable tanning agents over the course of 2019.