Thank you for taking the time to find out more about us, and what makes Lakeland the Leather Expert.
Let's be honest. The "About us" section of most websites is dull! An after-thought; a representation of a dull product, or a company with no passion for what they do. If you can spare us a minute we'd love you to tell you why we think the Lakeland story is pretty special.
Creating the Leather Expert
It all started back in 1955 when Jack Standring 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; the highest quality leather goods. And we soon learned that when you trade in leather no two garments are the same. Every hide is unique and needs the eye of a leather expert to get the beauty of the raw material to reveal itself. This is our daily adventure and we love it!
The present day
Today we have grown to become the UK's largest independent leather with 15 shops. We'd love 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 Sourcing Director, tours the world to source the best quality hide he can find. Often he'll find that right here, and nobody champions Great British Leather more than Lakeland, but sometimes he'll return from ever more exotic lands ecstatic with his latest find. David is more than a leather expert - he's the man who guides our next experts. When it comes to leather no one knows more than he does.
A passion for leather - real leather
At Lakeland we hate with a passion any leather that is described (and sold) as leather but simply isn't - at least not in our minds! Unfortunately the rules in the UK that determine what constitutes leather are a bit loose.
Supermarkets and some bigger fashion chains can sell 'leather belts' at crazy prices. And this isn't because of their 'buying power', but the cheaper leather products you can buy in the UK is 'bonded' leather. This means it's a sandwich of plastic and leather. A sandwich of the cheapest, thinnest, off-cuts of leather, laminated between a plastic coating. The plastic is then pressed with a 'natural grain' to give the look of 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.
We pride ourselves on high quality 100% real leather with natural finishes. Some may call them imperfections, but it's these unique blemishes that make a Lakeland Leather.
Staying true to our roots
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 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 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?
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 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.
Staying true to our founding principles
If you're still reading, thank you! You've done well to get this far. There's just one more thing we want you to know: we really do believe in delivering great 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, listen and then do our absolute best to look after you. And this helps us remain true to our founding principles set out by Jack all those years ago; provide the best quality products, with the best service.