A Second Look Into The World of Exotic Skins

A commitment was made to build a business that will eventually become a brand.  The places and people we’ve cross paths with are fascinating and we thank everyone involved with our current and future success.                -The Beau Satchelle Family

This past month, Beau Satchelle decided to design and build an Italian racing inspired bespoke duffle bag to be entered in a silent auction at Concours d’ Elegance of American benefiting Project Beautiful, Inside & Out later this month. (The full story on this piece will be in a future blog post…stay tuned!) 

However, this bespoke piece is similar to all first pieces we build, as it is a prototype.  Original in design and specifically created for the special event, it has already started to turn heads and will be added to our collection of uniquely designed bespoke travel bags.  Now, our design is being modified to turn an exceptional exotic skin (Genuine Wild American Alligator) into our first exotic racing inspired duffle bag.   During our process, before a product is created with the selected exotic skin, a prototype is usually made with an embossed cow leather but was accomplished with the prototype as seen above in the photograph.  While witnessing the creation process of these incredible materials, we thought it would be interesting to share with our readers a second peek into the world of exotics skins beyond traditional leathers.

Before going any further, it would be neglectful to not address Beau Satchelle’s responsibility and commitment to sourcing skins from vendors who are dedicated to working with communities that consume these specific animals for food sources resulting in the skins becoming by-products.  We constantly research our suppliers’ practices with sustainability, waste and ability to support the communities where they conduct business.   We seek out vendors who follow all state, federal and international laws regarding the sale and distribution of exotic skins and have set high standards with environmental ethics and wildlife safety.  As a luxury brand, we are committed to being a good steward towards our use of exotic skins.

You can visit our website’s ‘Sustainability’ page for more information on our processes.  http://dev.beausatchelle.com/sustainability/

So, what exactly is exotic leather?  Basically, it is most leathers not derived from cowhide or leather not produced from food sources usually consumed by the masses.  It will be more exclusive and pricier than most cowhide and the look and feel of these leathers are distinctive, rare and beautiful. 
A leather artisan must be respectful and understand the nuances and components of exotic leathers.   These skins will range from delicate to coarse.  The size of the animal will make a difference in the number of skins needed to produce a product.  Many factors go into determining the tanning process; ranging from vegetable tanning to chrome dyeing.  Skins that possess certain fleshy textures are thicker and can be split or skived for a thinner and more pliable piece.  The grain can range from soft and flexible where a stiffening material may be needed to hold shape; while in other instances, the skin can be dense and rigid with a shell like appearance and texture.  And, of course, depending on the product, leather crafters may even select skins with the hair as part of the design.
Exotic Skins come from both water and land and cover a diverse number of species:
-Salmon and Shark
-Arapaia/Pirarucu (a fresh water fish native to Brazil and South America)
-American Alligator, Crocodile, and Caiman
-Stingray and Eel
-Frog and Toad
-Lamb and Goat
-Moose, Bufffalo (Bison) and Wildebeest
-Zebra, Deer and Elk
-Cardovan which is a durable horse hide taken from the hindquarters
-Snakes including the Python, Cobra, Anaconda, Boa, Kurung
-Elephant, Hippopotamus, Anteater and even the Turtle
In future blogs, we will discuss individual exotic skins that may be helpful in selecting your next purchase.  Whether you are seeking a stunning handbag, a handsome piece of luggage or furniture wrapped in leather,  I look forward to sharing more insight on the world of exotic leather based on the experiences of Beau Satchelle.   –AJ
Tell us about you favorite exotic skin in the comment section or on Twitter!


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