Tannery goes hell for leather for expansion

Clyde Leather was founded in 1955 and is  now in its third generation. Picture: Contributed
Clyde Leather was founded in 1955 and is now in its third generation. Picture: Contributed
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A tannery that was founded more than 60 years ago has invested a seven-figure sum in machinery as it ramps up production.

Clyde Leather, which is based in Neilston, East Renfrewshire, was established by Walter Bevan Harris in 1955 and has developed a wide customer base that includes major brands such as New Balance UK and Zatchel. It also supplies clients from a wide range of leather manufacturing sectors.

The company, which employs 30 people, is now in its third generation and is run by Walter’s grandson Richard Harris.

With support from Business Gateway, East Renfrewshire, the firm is now looking to continue its expansion and increase its portfolio.

Harris, a leather chemist and the company’s managing director, said: “The British leather industry declined significantly in the 1990s but through hard work, innovation, diversification and creating a consistent quality produce we have not only survived but have grown since then.

“We have invested extensively in machinery and our people infrastructure which has allowed us to remain at the forefront of the industry.

“At the moment 90 per cent of our output is for the domestic market with leather being used for high quality suede shoes, handbags, leather belting and industrial leather. We supply leather to Charlotte Elizabeth who manufactures unique, high-end handbags for clients including Meghan Markle, so our leather is available and has exposure everywhere in the UK.”

Karine Burns of Business Gateway added: “Richard came to us for support to help them grow and we identified that they needed help around strategy and marketing. We organised an international strategy workshop to clarify the company’s growth strategy followed by a workplace innovation organisational review that looked at improving the company’s people structures.

“Business Gateway is now working with Richard to develop the firm’s marketing strategy in addition to building an investor ready business plan with support from Scottish Enterprise.”