Introduction to the Worcestershire Leather Company by Tim Hardy
I have always been passionate about British handmade, superior quality products encompassing the heritage of this country, and try to reflect this in my products by using British leathers, fittings and materials wherever possible. This has the satisfying result of many customers returning after 15-20 years to replace a belt or similar product with a new one whilst putting the old one to gardening leave.
The business can best be described as a Farmhouse/Cottage industry supplying handmade and hand stitched leather goods of classic high quality and our own design, made to order directly to the end user.
Leathers from notable suppliers such as J & E Sedgwick (bridle leathers) and Pittards (Saddle hides), with fittings from long established names such as B.B. Stanley Bros. of Walsall, home of the English saddlery industry.
Among some of my successful achievements, the Quick Release belt and Drinks case I am particularly proud of both of which are now widely produced under different guises by other manufacturers.
I was born on my Father’s farm where he was one of the few still using working horses and as such grew up around them and surrounded by a wide variety of leather tack. This had a profound influence on me and along with my creative urge to make and design things eventually led me to the world famous Cordwainers Technical College. Here I undertook a training course Leather goods, Luggage and Case making, Saddlery and Light leather goods design and manufacture. Also attending the college were the shoe designers Patrick Cox and Emma Hope pursuing there early beginnings in shoe making.
1983 saw me branch out on my own and set up my own business rather than work in factory where creativity can be hard to fufill leaving many colleagues disheartened and eventually leaving the trade. Starting from a small shed in my parents garden I began to develop my first product rang, sold to local shops and friends. The opportunity to move to the Jinney Ring Craft Centre in Hanbury, Worcestershire opened up new possibilities for retail sales. Further ventures increased sales to a worldwide customer mail order base and attending premier retail events such as Badminton Horse Trails, Burghley Horse Trials, Glorious Goodwood race days and Country Living etc.
Over the years I was fortunate and very proud to supply and develope product ranges for Gieves & Hawkes, Dege, Purdey, Paolo Gucci, Denime, Nepenthes, Jay Kos, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and many others.
2002 brought an end to Tim Hardy Ltd. due to the lasting effects of the 2001 Foot & Mouth epidemic and 9/11 disaster forced closure of the business. I continued to design and work as a leather goods consultant until the many loyal customers, unable to source my products to their satisfaction, persuaded me to go alone again.
2005 saw the formation of the Worcestershire Leather Company which now successfully supplying top quality English bespoke and made to order Leather Goods directly to customer via internet and mail order.
Presently, I have two websites; www.timhardy.com which details the larger part of my collection and www.worcestershireleathercompany.com the new e-commerce site where we are gradually introducing new ranges and products with the facility of all the whizz-bangs needed for today’s website trading.
New developments presently underway include two re-workings of a successful all leather gentleman’s Fishing bag for business use and a heritage range of belts in Bakers Oak Bark Tanned bridle leather.