Leather firm wins accolades
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A DALE leather-worker is one of only three craftspeople nationwide in the running for a prestigious national award.
Charlie Trevor, who started his bespoke manufacturing company Equus Leather with his wife Dawn in 2008, was last week announced as a finalist for the Heritage Crafts Association’s (HCA) Maker of the Year award.
The couple are no strangers to the awards having won the HCA’s Made in Britain award in 2015. That award was created to recognise companies which make quality British work “against all odds” and choose not to outsource production or to relocate outside the country.
All of the Equus’ belts, watchstraps, wallets, dog collars and other leather
products are carefully hand-crafted at the company workshop near Little Newsham.
Mr Trevor said winning the award in 2015 had helped boost the business’s reputation. He said: “It was really good because the argument for off-shoring is financially compelling. It is what most fashion houses do – they are a brand, not a manufacturer.
“There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears in not off-shoring.”
Mrs Trevor added: “It recognised what we make here is sold across the world. It is very satisfying to sell your product in China or India, instead of the other way around.”
Since starting simply as a husband and wife team, the company has grown to include two additional permanent staff members, with one about to complete her apprenticeship.
The firm has also begun to make a series of Youtube “workshop” videos which demonstrate how items are hand-crafted, one of which has had more than five million views.
The most recent nomination and shortlisting for the Maker of the Year award is an individual award, but Mr Trevor believes it also recognises the team effort that goes into making the products so successful.
He said: “It is nice having your work recognised, I was a bit surprised to be honest.
“External validation of your work is always nice. I will be delighted if I win and I will be even more surprised if I do.”
The awards will be made during the HCA’s annual conference at Cecil Sharp House, in London, on Saturday, March 9. HCA chairwoman Patricia Lovett said: “The heritage crafts sector in England alone contributes £4.4billion GVA to the UK economy each year, as much as the petrochemical industry. But for many years heritage crafts have been completely ignored and are still not supported by the government.”