About Us - The Leather Expert

Let's be honest. The "About us" section of most websites is deadly dull! Perhaps that's because the company is dull or the product or services offered aren't that exciting. So, feel free to click away now as there's a chance we've failed to engage you with our story. Then again, if you can spare us a minute we'd love you to read about Lakeland because we think our business and our story is pretty special.

It all started back in 1955 when Jack Standring (right) opened his first shop in Ambleside. That's over 60 years ago and his son, Richard, is still active in our business today.

Jack was an adventurer, happiest heading for the nearest Lakeland peak with a rope thrown across his shoulder. This spirit for adventure runs through Richard and is the life blood of Lakeland. That doesn't mean we're pioneers of undiscovered lands - that's far too fancy a notion for us! But we are constantly seeking out something new and different for our customers.

You see, our passion is for leather goods. And when you trade in leather no two garments are the same. Every hide we buy is unique and needs the eye of an expert to get the beauty of the garment to reveal itself. This is our daily adventure and we love it!

We're a small independent retailer with 15 shops. We hope to have a few more shops but that means our MD, Martin, will have to tear himself away from the Lake District to go and find some new locations!

Lakeland is famous for soft-to-touch leather products. From our biker jacket to a classic long leather trench coat you will find our leather is beautifully soft. That's because David, our very long serving leather buyer, tours the world to source the best quality hide he can find. Mostly it comes from the UK, New Zealand, and Australia but sometimes he'll turn up in ever more exotic lands ecstatic with his latest find. He's a bit dull at parties but when it comes to leather no one knows more than he does.

At Lakeland we hate with a passion any leather that is sold to you, the customer, described as leather but isn't really - at least not in our minds! Unfortunately the rules in the UK that determine what constitutes leather are a bit loose. Have you ever wondered how supermarkets and some bigger fashion chains can sell 'leather belts' at crazy prices? Perhaps you assumed it was because of their 'buying power'? The truth is that a lot of the cheaper leather products you can buy in the UK is 'bonded' leather. This means it's a sandwich of plastic and leather. However, the leather used is the cheapest, nastiest, off-cuts of leather possible often then sandwiched between a plastic coating to form the product. The plastic is often 'grain printed' to make it look like leather. Legally, it's still leather. But to us it's not! Definitely not. It makes our blood boil because unsuspecting customers end up with a product that cracks and splits leaving them with an impression that leather is rubbish. Coated and laminated leathers are almost as bad. At Lakeland, we pride ourselves on high quality 100% real leather with natural finishes. You can trust us with your leather quality. We won't let you down.

Everything we sell is selected or designed by our team in Ambleside. We take inspiration from our natural surroundings and from the fashion world in which we live. Each year, our buyers slavishly travel far and wide in the search for new products, designs and ideas. They return to the Lake District exhausted and gasping for fresh air. We'll then review the samples they've found and discuss the ideas they've had. At this stage we follow some simple steps: is the product special? Is it ethically sourced and made? Will the style fit and flatter our customers when worn? Is it the best quality we can find or make? Will it be good value for money? It's a bit like Dragons Den but with more tea and biscuits. However, the result is that every item we sell in our stores will have passed the panel of (very picky) judges! So we hope you like them.

If you're still reading, thank you! You've done well to get this far. There's one more thing we want you to know: we really do believe in 'customer service'. Not a marketer's fake veneer customer service that says a lot but achieves nothing; but real service given by staff that care and will listen and then do our absolute best to look after you. Thanks for reading!

Find out more:

Our History - 60 Years the leather expert - About Leather - Leather Care & Cleaning

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