Clayton & Sons were established by Joseph Clayton in 1840. It all began at the Clayton Street Tannery in Chesterfield, where they still operate to this day. Clayton & Sons have an industrial history, providing items such as leather belts for the local industrial mills. They then evolved to venture into making cordovan leather for shoes and modern bridle leather for fashion.
Sedgwick & Co was founded in 1900 in the Walsall finishing shop in which they still operate now. At the time, Walsall was the thriving capital of leather for equestrian goods. In more recent years, their expertise has spanned into the small fashion goods sector. The company joined The Clayton Leather Group in 2015.
The oldest company in the group, Samuel Sharp began in 1628 in Cosgrave, Milton Keynes. The company was founded by the Penn family, who went on to establish the city of Pennsylvania in America. Samuel Sharp focused on finishing leather for the equestrian bridle and small fashion goods, using materials bought from local and worldwide tanneries. The company joined forces with Clayton & Sons in 1998.
William Clarke was founded in Margate, Kent in 1886. They specialised in finishing bridle leather and leather for small fashion goods such as handbags etc. The company joined the Clayton Leather Group as master leather curriers in 2015.
Since 1975 an impressive oil painting has taken centre stage in the boardroom of J & E Sedgwick, previously purchased from a Tannery in Birmingham called Muskets. The serene landscape of oak bark collecting in Cannock Chase has been a strong focal point of how proud the company is to be situated in the West Midlands.
At the end of 2016, a decision was made that the offices were in need of reorganisation during 2017. The changes will allow several employees to share their working space in what was the old boardroom and their existing offices will be transformed into ‘hot spot’ meeting rooms to accommodate the ever-evolving company.
Due to the reshuffle of office, this now means that the painting will not fit into the space it once sat and will need a new owner.
‘The Woodlanders’, painted by David Bates in 1897 is an incredible piece of artwork measuring 102cm high by 149cm wide, recently restored by Jane Mockett from Jane Maguire Fine Art Conservation in Shrewsbury. Thanks to Jane the oil painting is now, somewhat, back to its former glory showing its previous undecipherable beauty.
As you can imagine, being held behind the glass frame for the past 40 years took its toll on artwork. Removal and replacement of old dirty varnish and attention to the lifting/cupping of the paint proves to be a common thing with a painting of this age.
Artist Biography – David Bates (1840-1921) was born in Cambridge and worked as a porcelain painter at the Royal Worcester porcelain works where he came to specialise in painting flowers. His famous ‘open-air’ rural landscapes were mostly inspired by the picturesque UK countryside. Paintings in the Midlands, Lake District, Scotland and Wales noticeably indicates great passion and love for the country he grew up in.
His artwork is on display in Liverpool Museum, Worcester Museum and other art galleries.
Last week’s trade show in Hong Kong was the first major exhibition of the year that The Clayton Leather Group attended, providing the opportunity to showcase all the new activities for the group in 2017.
28th March – Morning before APLF and the anticipation of the first day couldn’t be more noticeable as we were setting up the new stand. Heads already started to turn as a beautiful leather jacket, made of our Clayton’s horse front and Cordovan shell leather was added to the stand. The team were yet to know at this point, just how popular the stand would prove to be.
Products manufactured from J & E Sedgwick’s newly coloured lacing hides were placed on display in the elegant glass cabinets attracting visitors to the back of the stand. Seamlessly, hung alongside the product cabinets, the actual lacing hides allowed visitors to familiarise themselves with the touch and feel of genuine Sedgwick leather.
The uniqueness of the stand design allowed visitors to understand the company values any which way they looked. The group’s ethos “Field to Finish” was vital to broadcast during the exhibition, our brand-new iPad stand also reiterated these values as a tutorial of our website ran on a loop.
Our digital footprint is continually growing within the leather industry and the iPad stand was the perfect feature to captivate visitors.
With all the preparation of the stand completed on the 5 hour mark a countdown to opening the doors began. The exhibitions final preparations came to a conclusion around 6 pm and with expected attendance numbers of 16,000 visitors, from around 90 different countries, a true excitement was building up.
Last month The Clayton Leather Group signed a new distribution agreement with Namo Namah Exim Pvt. Ltd, a sister company of Maha Lakshmi Enterprises who had been distributing J & E Sedgwick’s leather for twenty-five years. This agreement now opens up the market in India for all companies within The Clayton Group.
Namo Namah Exim Pvt. Ltd are leather distributors and manufacturers based in Kanpur, India. They produce accessories for the sports and fashion industry, and also specialise in equestrian leather. Under their product brand name James Aston their range includes; briefcases, wallets, belts and leather bags.
Namo Namah Exim’s James Aston products will be proudly displayed on the group’s exhibition stand 1E A07/UK at the APLF Leather & Materials trade show in Hong Kong this month.
The Clayton Leather Group continues to expand its distributor networks to ensure that the worldwide demand for its leather can be met. We ensure our distributors provide high quality knowledge and understanding of the group’s product range.
Chances are you’ve made a purchase online at some point in time. It’s hard not to, given how seamless the process can be.
We read obscure reviews that make us second guess if the item is actually what the pictures show us, look at star ratings and make a judgment on whether to buy or not and if satisfied, part with our cash so willingly. But how many of us can seriously say we’ve looked at that item when it’s arrived and thought long and hard as to how to improve that item if it’s not perfect? How to take the design idea and change it for a more practical use, that a better quality material could be used?
The digital age has opened up the ability for a consumer to have an effortless experience during an online transaction. With this, we’ve become lazy and are content in settling with the item not looking perfect. This is where Jordan Kirby took a side step from the common thinkers, to look at his purchase from a well-known auction site a little differently.
In 2014 Jordan purchased a 1940’s British Postal bag and after questioning the functionality of this item, he set about adapting the design and quality of leather ensuring it became more practical whilst keeping it fashionable for the modern world. The problem he found was that the quality of leather really let down the existing product and just wasn’t durable enough for its intended purpose. After speaking with Jordan regarding his new product it was clear to see the sheer passion and desire to use quality leather so that consumers really value his future product branding. In fact, with this mindset, he was able to style his company named ‘Past Vintage’ to become a consumer’s lifestyle choice with the new briefcase bag leading the way.
For this leather to really stand out Jordan knew that he wanted the new product to reflect the rich heritage and rapport that English leather really does keep continually producing the finest leather. This would then amplify the desirability for someone to buy into this new lifestyle he wanted to create with the Past Vintage name. Coincidentally he lived one city over from Walsall, known for its leather industry worldwide! Therefore, allowing him to do his research locally and get the quality he was after.
Good quality leather starts right in the fields with the cows themselves, and for each leather piece to be traceable after production. To find a leather manufacturer who fully supports the provenance of its hide was somewhat difficult during his search until he made contact with J & E Sedgwick & Co. Together with Ian T Walker, Chairman of The Clayton Leather Group, Jordan is now able to get his product launched in 2017 because of the mutual understanding that provenance is something everyone should buy into when purchasing premium leather.
Keeping a strong belief that you should never settle for second best, the briefcase went through four different design changes, with adaptations on colour choices and strap positioning variations. It is clear to see the attention to detail taken to ensure that the stitching, metal clasps and compartment sizes were all on the priority list. The final outcome leaving us with the first product made from Past Vintage which stemmed from bold design decisions and an entrepreneurial mindset. The leather briefcase is the first item to be embossed with the Past Vintage logo using Sedgwick & Co. leather, which excitingly makes it a first edition product. I asked Jordan where’s next for the Past Vintage briefcase bag, and was pleased to hear that in March 2017 it’ll be proudly displayed at the Asia Pacific Leather Fair in Hong Kong. This will further the encouraging movements to expand its consumer reach, allowing the growth of his company name.
With the unveiling of the bag in China, the vision and direction of Past Vintage driven by Jordan Kirby is a continual upwards movement, along with other products on the horizon. After reading this article, if you are disappointed with an online purchase next time, are you going to take a side step in thinking just like Jordan did?
The Clayton Leather Group will be exhibiting at APLF in 2017, we’ll be on the UK Leather Pavilion with our brand new stand (number yet to be confirmed). If we’ve met with you before please do come say hello or maybe book in to see us in advance using the link in this email. Let us know which day you’ll be attending and what time suits you. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can with a confirmed meeting slot as this year will prove to be our busiest ever.