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Four Peaks Leather: Top Leather and Wool Goods, Made with Local Hands

When Four Peaks Leather, a leather and wool goods business, came up for sale in 2019, Sally Houston pounced on the opportunity. She had been purchasing calfskin from there for a while to make furniture and other bits and pieces, and with her motivation for crafting and the large supply of calf skins, she decided to buy the business.

Houston says the former owner, Eve Wallace, was trying to sell the business locally to keep it in New Zealand. Being personally invested in making local products, Houston has continued to prioritise making her goods locally, from the booties and gloves to hats and other goods.

“New Zealand can produce some pretty unique stuff… quality over quantity every time, I think, and New Zealand made is definitely really good quality.”

Working as a team

Houston employs five people in her factory in Geraldine, South Canterbury, and five people in Timaru as well. She offers flexible options for her employees, letting them work from home for a variety of reasons.

Houston says all her employees are very talented and share her love of designing and crafting. Her workers can make between 8-10 booties an hour, and Houston regularly talks with them about designing and pottering.

Without giving her workers the flexibility they need, Houston says they wouldn’t be able to work, and Four Peaks Leather wouldn’t be producing great, NZ made products.

“We have people from overseas getting in contact with us just to buy one pair of gloves. [King] Charles wears our gloves, and Princess Anne wears our hats, and Sigourney Weaver has had gloves made for her…”

Houston hopes to expand the company’s international presence in the future, with the aim of promoting not just the business, but New Zealand as a whole, and what the country has to offer.

Why Four Peaks Leather is NZ Made

Houston has a firm interest in locally grown, unique NZ products. Her interest in locally-made goods was one of the major factors behind her decision to buy the business. Houston has since kept the business local because she wants to keep her workers in the Geraldine workshop and those in Timaru employed.

“I’ve had a huge amount of people that have asked us 'why don’t you get these things made overseas?' The reason really is keeping people employed.”

“I’ve always tried to be reasonably passionate about New Zealand make stuff. That’s part of the reason that I wanted to buy this business…”