Introduction to the Worcestershire Leather Company by Tim Hardy
I have always been passionate about British handmade, superior quality products encompassing the heritage of this country, and strive to reflect this in my products by using British leathers, fittings and materials entirely. This has the satisfying result of many customers returning after 15-20 years to order another belt or similar product whilst putting the old one to gardening leave.
The business can best be described as a Farmhouse/Cottage industry supplying handmade and hand stitched leather goods, mostly in English Bridle Leather, of classic high quality and my own design, made to order directly for the end user.
Leathers from notable suppliers such as J & F J Baker (oak bark tanned English bridle leather), J & E Sedgwick (Finest English bridle leathers) and Pittards (English Saddle hides), with fittings from long established names such as B.B. Stanley Bros. of Walsall (now Abbey England), home of the English saddlery industry.
Among some of my successful achievements, the Quick Release belt and Drinks Case I am particularly proud of both of which are now widely produced under different guises by other manufacturers.
I was born on my Father’s farm where he was one of the few still using working horses and as such grew up around them and surrounded by a wide variety of leather tack. This had a profound influence on me and along with my creative urge to make and design things eventually led me to the world famous Cordwainers Technical College. Here I undertook a training course Leather goods, Luggage and Case making, Saddlery and Light leather goods design and manufacture. Also attending the college were the shoe designers Patrick Cox and Emma Hope pursuing their early beginnings in shoe making.
1983 saw me branch out on my own and set up my own business rather than work in factory where creativity can be hard to fulfil leaving many colleagues disheartened and eventually leaving the trade. Starting from a small shed in my parents garden I began to develop my first product rang, selling it to local shops and friends. The opportunity to move to the Jinney Ring Craft Centre in Hanbury, Worcestershire in 1985 opened up many new and interesting possibilities for retail sales. Further ventures increased sales to a worldwide customer mail order base and attending premier retail events such as Badminton Horse Trials, Burghley Horse Trials, Glorious Goodwood race days and Country Living etc.
Over the years I was fortunate and very proud to supply and develop product ranges for Gieves & Hawkes, Dege, Purdey, Paolo Gucci, Denime, Nepenthes, Jay Kos, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and many others.
2002 brought an end to Tim Hardy Ltd. due to the lasting effects of the 2001 Foot & Mouth epidemic and the 9/11 disaster which forced closure of the business. I continued to design and work as a leather goods consultant until the many loyal customers, unable to source my products to their satisfaction, persuaded me to go it alone again.
2005 saw the formation of the Worcestershire Leather Company which now successfully supplying top quality English bespoke and made to order Leather Goods directly to customer via internet and mail order.
My website; www.timhardy.com is a fully integrated e-commerce site is constantly updated and reviewed to cater for today’s needs in website trading. New developments are always underway and include the new London Colour in the popular heritage range of belts in Bakers Oak Bark Tanned bridle leather.