Tärnsjö Garveri employs 50 remarkable individuals with unsurpassed knowledge and experience in the art of vegetable tanning and saddlery.
Every year we produce 900,000 square feet of the world’s finest vegetable tanned leather using hides from local Swedish farms.
Roughly a third of our leather remains in-house and is used to produce Tärnsjö Garveri saddlery and other premium leather products for an elite list of clients including Källemo, Frederica Furniture, Triwa and Visvim. Our clients choose us because over the last 145 years we have mastered the art and craft of both vegetable tanning and saddlery. Our work produces an aesthetic that sets the standard for high quality leather all around the globe.
Interview with Ake Lindström, Head of Production
Age: 60 years young
Family: Father of 4
Years in the company: 42
Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, timber housing, forests, Norrbotten, bicycles and giving old things new life.
You are the Guru of leather at Tärnsjö Garveri. That means you can also be called one of the best and most experienced tanners in the world.
How long have you worked here?
42 years. As is required in any craft, I started at the bottom and worked my way up through every step of the process before becoming a master tanner. I wasn´t allowed to move on until I was considered qualified or skilled enough. Times have changed though; today I am the person who decides when somebody is considered skilled enough.
Would you say that Tärnsjö Garveri is a business of production or do you practice a craft?
We practice a craft. Even though our primary business is to produce leathers it all comes down to mastering the craft of tanning.
Is it possible for anyone to master the craft of tanning leather or are there any specific characteristics required?
Most people can learn a trade. If you are born a craftsman you have it in your DNA. But there are some required characteristics; desire to learn and patience are cornerstones for any craftsman.
What is needed to make premium vegetable tanned leather?
High quality raw material is the foundation. Then of course you need to have a tanning process where you manage to control and maintain levels of pH balances and temperatures. But first and foremost, you need a certain sensitivity developed through experience.
What is the most unique thing about Tärnsjö Garveri?
The knowledge of our craftsmen, a special brotherhood between them and our flexibility that makes almost anything possible for us and our customers.
What do you consider to be the biggest challenge for Tärnsjö Garveri in the market, both as a supplier of premium leathers and as a business in general?
The biggest challenge is to be able to justify our price. At least from a general perspective, we compete with tanners who have low production costs due to low wages. We have to offer leather that is better in terms of quality but at the same time affordable. This means that our challenge is to produce and charge customers for leather that low wage companies can´t compete with, since they lack about 140 years of experience developing that certain sensitivity.
How do you define quality?
Quality offers emotion and is honestly presented. When it comes to leather you should be able to see that the hide comes from an animal that lived a good life. Quality does not mean that there are no tears.
Instead it makes you feel, upon regarding and touching, that a craft has been performed perfectly. Care is put in to the product!