This was the first year of LeatherNaturally!. After many months of discussion, we decided on a subscription level, agreed on how to get started, and signed up the New York-headquartered The Brand Union to lead our activities.
As we come to the end of the calendar year, we have completed the initial market research and are just now completing our messaging strategy. We are also recruiting an army of volunteers to be able to get underway with wide ranging social media activities in 2013.
We have plans to revolutionise our website, www.leathernaturally.org, so that it becomes an outstanding resource for trade and consumer, as well as an attractive and dynamic location for reference, fascination and delight in all leather matters.
We also have great plans, through APLF-Materials, Manufacturing & Technology (MM&T) 2013, to provide additional benefits and opportunities for members to interact and get more out of their membership. We want to promote leather as a fabulous material and we want all our members to feel able to join in.
We hope that what we learn and propose will fit well with members’ marketing and communication plans so that the voice of LeatherNaturally! will be spread far and wide not just through our campaign activities but the activities of all in the industry.
The support we have achieved to date indicates that this will happen. We have had invites to speak at conferences and meetings all over the world, nearly always with arrangements made to cover travel costs. We owe the whole industry a huge thank you for their tireless aid over the last few years as we have worked to find a subscription solution and a way to fit in smoothly with existing organisations. It is excellent that Richard Pai has joined our Board. As the next President of International Council of Tanners (ICT), he is our link to international bodies with whom we can work closely together.
Membership and Admin: become a Founder Member
The annual subscription has been set at US$2000. Membership has grown steadily since the kick off meeting in March but we are still short of our target. The first payment to The Brand Union has been made but we have some way to go to meet our targets for activity in 2013.
We have agreed that companies that joined in calendar year 2012 will be named Founder Members. This privilege extends to anyone who makes their payments by the end of January 2013. If you would like to join LeatherNaturally!, please email email@example.com and we will send you an invoice immediately.
In 2013, we plan to create a portfolio of diverse marketing materials for members to use. We ask those in the industry who have great images, videos and other materials to make these available to us. All contributions shall be properly acknowledged.
We also want a register of all social media accounts and blogs on the industry so we can cross promote. We are keen to have details of social media practitioners from within the industry who might like to join our social media army.
Moreover, we have started the process of building up a file of information that will provide the industry with the answers to the many attacks being made on leather. In 2012, we responded to many such issues including a video by Stella McCartney, statements from the Chairman of Puma and a variety of press articles. Going forward, we see ourselves more as a promoter of leather rather than an organisation dedicated to responding to each and every attack. We will play our part but the latter role is really a function for the existing trade organisations. It is good to see the IULTCS preparing excellent documents which can be used, secure in the knowledge that they are based on sound science.
Sensory explosion in 2013
In 2012, we saw many tanneries getting involved in making leather for covers for iPads and for smartphones. It appears that leather humanises technologies. JWT calls this a “sensory explosion” in their forecast for 2013. “In response to the increasing encroachment of technology into our everyday lives, consumers will place a premium on sensory stimulation and authentic experiences”.
Nothing fits the bill better than leather. The touch, smell and appearance of well made leather makes it the finest component a brand can have. We have had a complex few years with financial troubles and raw material supply and price issues but, as the situation stabilises, the future for leather should be bright.
To get to that successful end point, we need to see off the claims of synthetics, the attacks by the anti-leather crowd and, most importantly, ensure that up and coming designers and consumers do understand the sustainable qualities and values in using leather.
This newsletter is being sent to a wide range of companies, including many members. Apologies in advance if you receive more than one copy. We do not want anyone to miss the opportunity to be part of the leather journey and become a Founder Member.
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