Curtiembres del Valle
Curtiembres del Valle is tucked away next to the Rio Fonce in the San Jose valley of Santander Colombia. A lot of tanneries are located next to rivers, but not many tanneries consider the river and the surrounding natural spaces as sacred as their leather. Julio Cesar, who took over the family business of 53 years from his father, thinks differently than most tannery owners.
The values of Curtiembres del Valle are strong and obvious in their practices and policies, both environmental and human.
One of the most important differentiators for CDV is that the tannery is solely focused on vegetable tanned leather, producing both saddle and bridle leather, using a mix of Quebracho and Mimosa. There is no chrome, or any other synthetic tanning agent to be found.
Still, vegetable tanned leather does create wastewater and solid waste that must be carefully treated to protect the surrounding environment. Removing the salt from the wastewater is the principal concern and objective of their rigorous treatment process.
Wastewater treatment: from CDV is passed through multiple tanks, ultimately filtering through activated carbon before pH testing ensures the water has been sufficiently treated.
Solid waste: Solid waste is not viewed as a problem, but as a source for other materials. Shavings from leather scraps are processed and turned into compost. Fats are compiled and re-used to make soap and candles.
Curtiembres del Valle has in process of receiving the following international certifications:
ISO 9000 – Quality control standards
ISO 14000 – Environmental management
ISO 18000 – Occupational health and safety in the workplace
Proper treatment and disposal of wastewater and solid waste is rare within the global leather market, however, there is much more that sets Curtiembres del Valle apart from the rest. Curtiembres del Valle is truly a part of their local community. Almost 10 years ago, the tannery started a process of reforestation, planting over 600 Ylan Ylan and Black Acacia trees. In addition to their reforestation campaign, they planted a natural barrier of Swinglea trees to help reduce the natural odor from the cow hides, and provide a visual and sound barrier between the community and the tannery.
Beyond their obvious concern for their place in the community, Curtiembres del Valle has also been the largest local employer in the San Jose valley for decades. Employees have had good reason to stick around, as Julio Cesar himself worked with his staff over the course of four years, helping all of them move from basic literacy, to receiving their GED equivalents.
Where did your product come from? Who made it? Alta Andina believes in being fully transparent about our suppliers and manufacturers.
Marroquineria PyP is short for Pablo and Pastora, the husband and wife couple who own and operate their business together. Pablo, a leather craftsmen with over 35 years of experience, and Pastora, his wife manage designs and operations together in Bogota, Colombia. Their clients have included Avianca and Tumi, and they have exported product to the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.
In deciding to work with PyP, quality was our focus. PyP never asked us to compromise our principles and design ideologies, instead, they were eager to implement and adapt their processes to meet our quality standards. Pastora raises bees on her farm outside of Bogota, which is the source of the beeswax we use to burnish the edges of all our products. Pablo’s experience as a leather craftsmen and designer allows us to easily translate our handmade techniques, like hand stitching, burnishing and hand hammered rivets, to larger scale production.