Our Leather Story

A Great Bag Starts with Great Leather.

We're passionate about great leather.
From our classic briefcases to our beautifully crafted handbags,
our love of leather is at the heart of what we do.
Since 1905, we have been crafting the
finest products to accompany you on life's adventures.

Our philosophy is that a great bag always starts with great leather.
That's why we've taken the time to carefully source our leathers from the best
tanneries across the world, thoughtfully developing the signature leathers
we've become famous over the course of our 100 year history.

Leather Quality

J.W. Hulme bags are designed to age beautifully over time,
with age and grace, our leather takes on the character of your life's journey
and becomes part of your personal story.
Our leathers go through a rigorous selection and testing process.
We use a mix of the American and European leather hides,
carefully selecting only the "Grade A",
best hides for the final tanning stage. Depending on the bag (heavier or lighter weight), 
we use a chrome or aniline dyeing process to achieve rich color quality, depth and balance,
creating a beautiful overall product with subtle luster and feeling.

Most importantly, our leathers are chosen for maximum durability
to withstand many years of love, wear and adventure, truly intended
to be passed on to the next generation.

Tannery Process

Beautiful leathers are born at the tannery.
Our primary tannery is a family owned business that was established
in 1899 in the small village of Breyall on the German / Dutch border.

Here our leathers begin their story, transforming from raw hides into finished product
through a meticulous d
rum-dyeing process. Drum-dyeing is a process of immersing the hides into massive
rotating drums for hours on end and tumbling them to ensure full and even penetration of the dye,
minerals and natural tannins which give our leather their signature color and richness.

In the final finishing stage, our leathers are treated with 
natural oils
and dressings to dial in precise coloring and to protect the surface from the 
demands of everyday wear and the exterior environment.

The result is beautiful, rich leather,
made with consistent coloration, depth, durability and character.

Overall the tannery employs over 80 people and produces primarily handbag leathers
as well as some shoe upper leathers. The raw material is exclusively sourced in Europe and the majority is locally
sourced from Germany and neighboring regions in Holland and Scandinavia. 

In keeping with our mission of corporate responsibility, our tannery is at
the cutting edge of environmental sustainability. Our tannery was awarded the
Gold certification by the Leather Working Group independent
vetting process - seen as one of the widest recognized and strictest audits of production standards.

American Heritage Leather
From the beginning, our American Heritage leather has been what J.W Hulme stands for, 
synonymous with quality, longevity and classic style.
This highly durable, traditional leather is made to get better with age, gaining
the patina, character and the slightly distressed imprints that are the
hallmark of a well lived life.

Overall, American Heritage leather is slightly heavier and substantial,
and is made intentionally to withstand generations of wear.
Inspired by authentic American Lifestyle tannages of old, this leather is
made from USA steer hides, and is dyed and finished using clear,
soft waxes and aniline dyes for beautiful depth and color transparency. 

Note that our American Heritage leather contains slight markings and variations 
which are intentional, showing the natural beauty of a material that is meant to be
loved, worn and broken in over time. As you carry our American Heritage leather pieces,
the surface variation generally begins to "even out" to a more uniform color,
without so many of the highs and lows of a freshly made bag.

We recommend using our approved leather Lexol leather cleaner & conditioner
at least once a year to maintain the beauty and integrity of this leather. 

Hanover Leather

Our newest leather, Hanover, is a slightly softer, lighter weight leather, made from European hides.
We primarily use Hanover on our handbags and travel pieces, designed for a natural and
lightweight feeling while still retaining the high durability and quality standards that J.W. Hulme is best known for.

Similar to our American Heritage leather, Hanover is designed to get better with age, gaining patina and character with wear.
The surface is finished with a matte (non shiny) oil specifically formulated to give it a smooth,
supple hand while keeping the overall feeling as natural as possible.


Hampden Leather


Our Hampden leather is a classic, smooth, semi aniline dyed leather with a very subtle touch of luster.
Exclusively used on select women's bag styles, Hampden has a slightly more structured feeling,
giving our classic handbags their iconic shape and durability.

Made with with just enough stiffness to hold shape, Hampden still retains
a slight softness on the exterior and is a pleasure to the touch.
Like all of our bags, this leather breaks in beautifully over time, gaining character with every season.

We recommend using our approved leather Lexol leather cleaner & conditioner
at least once a year to maintain the beauty and integrity of all our leathers.