Why aren’t our leather sports goods perfect?
We have been sending leather sportswear all over the world for years as we are the only ones to offer this vintage range at a more than reasonable price. But sometimes we take feedback on our products as they are not perfect indeed so to bounce back on the few emails we receive and especially to back up the answer we might give you I will try to give some reasons in this article.
How is a solid oak rugby tee made?
12€ for the little ones, 18€ for the medium ones and 24€ for the big ones. This is the price we are offering for a product made entirely in France with oak that is currently in demand around the world.
As you can imagine, it is often said that in France about half of a company’s turnover is spent on charges (contributions, URSSAFF, RSI, rent, electricity, etc.), add to that the cost of machines and consumables and finally the raw material which is becoming rare: oak! So on 12€ we let you do the calculation?
So how do we get by?
One of the main secrets lies in our structural costs, in fact we work from home, in the garage or even sometimes in the cellar, which means we don’t have to pay rent for our activity.
And for the wood, we have been clever, we use old oak found on “Le bon coin” and more and more firewood that we buy or that we cut ourselves during the affouages.
As for the rest, our tools and machines are not perfect and above all we have to work in large quantities to generate a decent income per hour when turning.
That’s the broad outline of what’s behind a wooden base to display our vintage rugby balls, footballs and rugby balls.
So yes, the wood does work, as oak takes 10 years to dry, yes it can crack a little in places like the old wooden purlin in your attic flat, yes the base does warp slightly over time, yes the wood can crumble during turning, but we make up for this as much as possible in the workshop, yes we are not perfect, as we work quickly to guarantee you a low price….
And we do not throw away because the tee is not perfect so it will remain in stock and will be sold at this low price!
In order to satisfy the most demanding customers, we will now propose a premium version of our products in order to select the best of them. Be careful, they will remain the fruit of an artisanal work but they will be our best pieces, we promise.
Our range of vintage sportswear is not perfect but that’s what we love and that’s what makes us proud to work every morning. We don’t like perfection and we certainly don’t like standardised products.
How is a leather rugby ball made?
There is a lot to know about the making of our rugby balls but also about the whole range of vintage leather sports goods we offer.
As with our solid wood tee bases, to offer a lower price than some of our competitors while still being different in the patina of our products, there are a few manufacturing secrets.
The first point is always the same, to reduce our expenses to the maximum by working from our garage without rent and especially without frills. For example, we don’t use cardboard packaging to send out our balls, just bubble wrap and a recycled, tear-proof, waterproof envelope that costs us a few cents. Our shipping costs are 4 to 5 times lower than the average. 1€ saved on these costs is 1€ less on the price of the ball that we have been saving for years at less than 50€ despite inflation!
Then to come back to leather, you should know that we buy whole animal skins which costs 3 to 10 times less than buying selected pieces.
In a cowhide, we can make 4 to 8 balls depending on their size and with the scraps or the finer parts of the leather we make other products like the vintage baseball for example. Thus with the “low pieces” we don’t have any stew but products that cost us almost nothing in raw material and that make up for the low margin of our main product: the vintage ball. This is how we build a range of vintage leather products at a very interesting price.
Also, by making our sports products from whole hides we are subject to the imperfections of leather, particularly to the vagaries of the weather and especially to animal injuries such as when cows rub against barbed wire. These are the reasons why our products are not perfect and homogeneous.
We could buy selected leathers and leave the less noble parts to be discarded, but we would no longer be in the vintage sports article business but in the luxury business and our ball would be at the price of a handbag… of luxury. If you take out the straps and the difficult seams of a luxury handbag, you could expect a ball at around 250€.
It’s a project worth thinking about but it would require a separate range and even a separate website with its own brand, we’re thinking about it!
In the meantime, we also offer a premium version of most of our leather sportswear where we try to select our best pieces with few scratches or imperfections.
The last thing we have to tell you is that 95% of our leather is vegetable tanned. This ancient technique takes longer and lets the copper live for many years. Unlike modern Chrome tanning (more than 85% of the world’s leather today) which erases imperfections with a smoother finish, our vegetable tanning allows these imperfections to show through and will develop a patina over time. The colour is less well fixed and will evolve slightly over time.
Try it out, ask your leatherworker how his leather is tanned 😉
In the meantime, you have understood, our leathers are not perfect but we assume it and this article is the proof once again.
Don’t blame us.
You have understood with this title, even if we completely assume our way of working, it remains you who make us live and the objective is not to make a disgruntled or disappointed customer feel guilty because he went a little glass at the time of his purchase.
We are aware that nowadays, if the tomato or carrot on your shelves is not perfect, we tend to put it aside.
If even Intermarché is having trouble selling it to you, Ben and Flo aren’t going to win that fight, so yes, we will continue to accept the return of your product if it isn’t up to your expectations.
We hope that reading this article will give you a different perspective on craftsmanship as it is.