Leather & Thread

Simon Glenday uses traditional skills to make contemporary leather accessories

Simon Glenday is a leather artisan working from his cottage in Timperley. He uses traditional methods to produce simple and beautifully designed wallets, coin purses, belts and other accessories. The way that Simon works is the antithesis of modern mass production. Everything in the production process is carefully considered and he doesn’t take any shortcuts for the sake of saving time or cost.

Simon in his Timperley workshop

Simon uses locally sourced leather which has been tanned using an environmentally friendly traditional process. Vegetable tanning takes time and uses natural tannins from tree bark, wood, leaves, fruit and roots – very different from the acids, salts and chemicals used in the more common and much quicker chrome tanning process.

Every item is cut by hand and then hand dyed in a range of colours, including classic neutrals and a vibrant yellow, blue and red. The seams have hand punched holes and are hand stitched using a traditional saddle stitch. Though more time consuming, this method is much stronger and durable than the machine lock stitch used in virtually all clothing and accessories manufactured today. If a thread breaks a saddle stitch will not run like a machine stitch and your wallet will still have many happy years of use ahead. The thread that Simon uses is linen thread which stretches and moves with the leather making the wallet last longer. The edges of the wallets and belts are softened using warm water and then worked smooth using beeswax and a lot of elbow grease.

All the leather is cut and dyed by hand

Unlike other manufacturers, Simon delights in the longevity of his products and offers a lifetime guarantee with all of them. He loves the way that the narrative of the owner’s life changes the character of a leather wallet. The leather softens and moulds to its contents and the patina changes and deepens with age and handling.

Leather & Thread is not just about making leather goods. Simon’s wallets and accessories are designed to offers antidotes to some of modern life’s bad habits. His slimline wallets have no room for the receipts and other redundant rubbish that we gather and carry around with us. The stylish leather Aurum coin tray reduces clutter on your bedside table as it is big enough to hold keys, watch, change and wallet. Simon is always working on new products and he will be launching The Signo Range, featuring a purse, coin holder and trinket holder, in the summer.  A small card wallet - The Theca Wallet –  will follow in October.

Anticuus - Simon's take on the classic billfold wallet in Blue

In case Simon has started to sound like a nineteenth century artisan wannabe who rejects modern methods, you should also know that he has a first degree in Materials Engineering and a Master’s degree in corrosion control. However, instead of following a more predictable career route into oil rig maintenance, for example, Simon chose a career in marketing and advertising, working in account management in Australia and latterly in Manchester.

Simon actually began working with leather about eight years ago. He had a broken wallet and decided that, rather than buy a new one, he would learn how to mend it. He then designed and made a new wallet for himself - the Apostle, still his biggest seller. His first customers were friends at his local hockey club who bought his handmade wallets.

The growth of sales was organic, developing through word of mouth from one a month to one a week and, then, as he started to use social media, to between five and ten a day. Early on, Simon adopted a clever strategy to increase sales. He included a £5 voucher in the wallets that he sold online with the message- ‘it’s bad luck to receive an empty wallet’. He finds that this results in a high percentage of extra orders – As Simon says ‘for every wallet that I sell - I sell another’

The Pecto card holder in shades of Brown, Natural and Mahogany

Simon is still a marketing man and is consciously building a brand. He clearly has great plans for Leather & Thread in the future, including taking on an apprentice to train in leather work and other areas of the business.

So Altrincham readers can get 20% off purchases from Leather and Thread by using the code SOALTY20. Have a look at the website here.

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