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Classic Sheepskins: Creating New Zealand Sheepskins For Over 50 Years

Staying strong over five decades after its establishment, Classic Sheepskins is now the only owned and operated sheepskin tannery in New Zealand, processing roughly 40,000 sheepskins per annum for a range of purposes, from seat covers to slippers.

Kieran Callaghan, the General Manager of Classic Sheepskins, has a sense of pride in the company. Valuing premium products, Callaghan speaks in great detail about the process Classic Sheepskins undergo to maximise quality.

The salted sheepskins are supplied by meat works, before being put through a rigorous and lengthy process involving tanning, washing, modifying, and drying. At the end of it all, the sheepskins used in Classic Sheepskins’ products have been through countless procedures and machines designed to enhance the condition of the goods.

Valuing the environment

One of the big changes that Classic Sheepskins have made over the past few years has been involving their environmental footprint. Callaghan has taken great care in ensuring that the tanning process used is as environmentally-friendly as possible.

Classic Sheepskins avoid using nasty chemicals, are heavy metal free, and are always conscious of their discharge and water usage, all with the aim of being as sustainable as they can be.

Callaghan wants to change the typically negative perception of sheepskin tanneries that many people seem to hold. He wants Classic Sheepskins to be a company that really challenges negative views, and leads a firm shift in how tanneries are seen.

“Historically, tanning may have a bit of a negative name around it and we’re really looking to be pioneers in changing that.”

Being NZ made

To Callaghan, the value of being completely New Zealand made is immense.

Because of supply issues, a lot of sheepskins come from farms just up the road from the tannery. In Callaghan’s opinion, it is vital to complete the entire production process in New Zealand to honour the lives of the animals being used, and to respect the wishes of customers who want to buy truly New Zealand made goods.

Moving into the future, Callaghan is really happy with Classic Sheepskins. He loves that he gets to go out into the world and show people the quality and promise of natural sheepskins.

“We’ve got something great here. The main thing that gets me out of bed is putting this in front of people and showing the great option that is natural and sustainable sheepskin.”