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An Overview Of The Leather Industry

Millions of people around the world use leather products daily, whether it is in the form of leather bags, shoes, wallets or clothing. The leather industry generates an improbable amount of leather for consumers worldwide. It serves the purpose of both function and fashion, which makes leather one of the most popular materials available.
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What Is The Leather Industry?

The leather industry is an international manufacturing sector that produces raw, processed and finished goods that are used in making leather products. Animal hides are used to make leather, and these hides are the result of waste from the food industry. Leather is one of the most exported products globally, with the export value exceeding $5 billion every year.

History Of Leather Industry

Leather has been used in a variety of ways for thousands of years, but the formal leather industry is a comparatively more recent development dating from around 1100 CE, during the Middle Ages. The crafting of leather requires a specialised tool and a fair amount of knowledge to tan, design, and dye the leather. To keep this knowledge within the groups and pass it on to future generations, guilds of leather workers were created. It helped to protect the livelihood of the artisans who were dependent on this knowledge.

In the 1700s, global trade was established by the world powers of the time, mainly Great Britain, France, and Spain. They drove the leather industry by producing and trading hides around the world. In the 1800’s, the demand for leather escalated when the Industrial Revolution came. Leather was needed for different kinds of products like footwear, clothing, and other accessories. The machines were created to fasten the production of leather goods. The relationship between hiding skinners, tanneries, workers, and consumers grew more profound, and the leather industry became a core part of the culture.

Modern Times

In the contemporary world, rubber and plastic have become competitors for leather. However, the leather industry is advancing with the assistance of the latest technologies for processing and producing new leather goods. The relationships have also evolved over time. Trade associations in today’s world are similar to leather guilds of Medieval Times as they continue to strengthen the industry. They work with networks of partners to produce and deliver leather all around the world.

Groups Of Leather Industry

Farmers And Ranchers

Leather is made from animal hide, and farmers and ranchers maintain a large number of animals which include cows, goats, pigs, and sheep. These animals are primarily used by the food industry; the hides become a by-product and are then used as raw material to produce leather goods.


Meatpackers process the animals that have been ranch and farm-raised and turn them into different materials that can be used by several industries. This involves separating all parts, and as hides are an essential part of the leather, machines are used to remove the hides and preserve them before being sold to tanneries.


Tanners purchase hides from meatpackers. They are buying hides from a country that produces high-quality hides, and they can also purchase them locally from nearby states. Once they receive it, they will tan the hides and turn them into finished leather.


The resellers purchase the finished leather from tanneries in large quantities and sell them to smaller resellers. Leatherworkers often get their leather from these smaller resellers. These leather shops can offer a wide range of hides from around the world; they also have hides from different animals.


The leather artisans are one of the main customers of resellers. When they plan a project, they determine what type of leather is best suited for their product and purchase that from resellers. After they get their hands on the desirable leather, they can make leather goods that will last decades.

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