About two weeks ago, I introduced you all to Tan Leather Goods. A company that offers Authentic South African leather goods on the go! With a selection of bags, totes and purses to choose from, there is something for everyone. The brand is owned by Leonard (Managing Director) and Wynand (Investor). Leonard agreed to sit down and answer a few questions. Here’s a little behind the scenes look this amazing brand that is setting leather goods on trend and taking it to new heights.
When did you start TAN Goods , and why?
It all started back in 2016 when I was in Uni. I was desperately looking for a leather bag to carry my books & laptop between classes, but everything was just too expensive for my student budget. I eventually gave up my search, until I saw an opportunity to buy a bag from a friend that was doing missionary work in India at the time. My friend discovered a leather factory(in India) and started importing & selling these bags in South Africa, for REALLY CHEAP.
My brother, Wynand, was also looking for a leather bag at the time. Seeing these well-priced bags from India sold by our mutual friend, he made his purchase. We were really surprised by how good the quality was, considering what my brother paid. I knew of a couple people in my situation on campus, really wanting a leather bag but just not able to afford it. Intrigued, and totally in sync, me and Wynand saw a great opportunity to supply the local market with quality, yet affordable leather goods. We purchased 30 Leather bags from India, intending on reselling them. It sold out in a heartbeat. Tan was born.
After importing 2 more batches from India, we decided to switch our focus to locally manufactured leather goods. Fast-forward three years, and all our products are manufactured in our factory in Okavango Park, Cape Town. All our leather and inputs are bought from Capetonian Companies. We’re proudly South African!
Describe TAN Goods in five words.
Rustic Elegance with timeless design.
Does the name have any meaning?
Because of the colour of our first product, we advertised it as a Tan Leather bag on social media. As our range expanded it became Tan Leather Goods. The name stuck. To this day all of our products are Tan in colour, either in Pecan or Toffee leather.
What challenges have you faced whilst running your company thus far?
Starting our own factory in January 2017 came with a lot of challenges, but also a lot of valuable lessons. Learning how to run a cost effective production line didn’t happen overnight, but it gives us the opportunity to keep a finger on our quality at all times. Now, we’re so confident in our quality that we have a lifetime guarantee on all products. We were the first South African Leather Brand to offer a lifetime guarantee.
How do you overcome these challenges?
Trial and error, and a lot of failures. Failures that shaped us as a company. We’re forever grateful for each failure, as it equipped us for any future challenges that we may face. Although me and Ruhan run the daily operations of Tan, my brother’s mentorship has been invaluable.
What do you love about owning your own business?
Creating jobs in our local community gives me a great sense of pride. On a personal level, the business completely changed my life. It’s my lifeblood. For me there’s nothing more satisfying then starting your own business, working hard and seeing it grow. Going through the start-up process & experiencing all the growing pains has taught me way more then I have ever learned in University/School. It’s the best education I could have asked for.
Which job title best describes you?
How many days per week do you work on average?
Name three things that you can’t go a day without and that help you run your business.
My morning coffee. Talking to my lady. Listening to music.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business or brand?
Start. If you’ve got an idea, go for it. Most people that have an idea don’t do anything with it because of fear of failure. You also don’t have to invent something or start something new. If you’re idea is already out there, just do it BETTER. Gary Vaynerchuk says it all the time, there’s never been a better time to start a business.
Do you feel like you are living your passion?
Although I’ve always liked fashion, it wasn’t always my dream to start a fashion/leather brand. Today, it’s something that I’m very passionate about. Fashion trends are always changing and it’s a really exciting environment to be in. Trying to stay ahead of the curve with our designs and service quality is really fun and competitive. I haven’t had a single boring day!
Is there anything you know now, that you wish you knew when you started your business?
Learn to crawl before you can walk. Be patient. That’s the single most important attribute in starting a new business. If you haven’t got the luxury of waiting for your business to succeed, get a day job and start small on the side. If you don’t face major obstacles, your business isn’t growing. Be patient and welcome each challenge.
Which people have been enormously helpful to you?
Wynand, my brother and investor/partner. Ruhan, our Sales & Brand Manager/partner. Nina, My beautiful girlfriend and our creative brain. Pat, our lead craftsman and invaluable member of our team. My cousin, Deirdre, and her husband Louis. And my parents for supporting me from day one.
Who is your target market? If I were to give you a referral, who would I be looking for?
At the moment our product range is predominantly focused on Women. Our client base is mostly +- 18 to 35 years old, but we cater for all ages! We’re working on a couple really nice men’s products, which will be live before the festive season. We are targeting women who is looking for a fashionable leather product to last them a lifetime..
Any future plans with the brand?
We want to establish ourselves as a leading South African luxury brand, branching out to clothing and other luxury items in the future.
Now to entice you a little with a few of my favorite designs.
I will be reviewing the Joanie bag and here are the things that I will be looking for. Sizing of the bag; Milk bottle; easily accessible side pocket for baby wipes; inside compartment ; and hidden pocket for keys or cellphone.
Navigating the website
As a frequent online shopper, one thing that really annoys me is when a website is not user friendly. Tan Leather Goods , have really thought about their website design, keeping their client in mind. It’s easy to navigate and to see what they have on offer. It takes about 7-10 working days for your order to arrive, and trust me it is worth the wait.
Of course I am giving you a task. Head on over to Tan Leather Good’s website here and in the comments tell me what is on your wish list. Do not forget to share this post. You can also follow Tan Leather Goods on: