Sheepskin is quite simply one of Mother Nature’s perfect creations. No other natural or man-made fiber possesses the virtues of 100% sheepskin. The unique combination of the sheep’s leather skin on one side and wool fur on the other offer remarkable properties:
- Ounce for ounce, sheepskin is stronger than steel.
- Wool does not shed, because it’s attached to the skin. It isn’t woven and then brushed up, like wool pile fabric that is loose enough to be pulled out or worn off. Sheepskin wool is embedded into the leather.
- Highly resistant to snags, tears, wrinkles, soiling and pilling.
- Due to the leather/wool combination it never sags, always retaining its shape.
- Flame resistant.
- Retains heat, even when wet.
- Acts as a natural moisturizer due to the high content of lanolin in the wool.
- Water resistant. The seeded (or wool) side of the skin is naturally water resistant. We do, however, recommend treating/spraying the leather side with a high quality treatment.
Where to begin!
Most sheepskin products can be gently hand- or machine-washed. We recommend using our special Sheepskin Shampoo developed with Australian Tea Tree Oil and lanolin for all your washable sheepskin. Please view our Cleaning & Care Help page for more complete information on this topic.
Sheepskin is a pure organic product, unlike any other fiber in the world. Sheepskin will return, in time, to its constituent elements.
Cool in Summer and Warm in the Winter
Its fibers breathe, acting like a natural thermostat for your body. These hollow fibers can absorb up to 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling wet, keeping you perfectly dry regardless of the weather. The free flow of air between you and the sheepskin fibers is a comforting change from the clamminess of leather and vinyl.
A Recycled Byproduct
A sheepskin pelt is only one of many byproducts of the sheep farming industry. This byproduct of the food and wool industry is tanned and used in many wonderful ways rather than being discarded. At the end of a sheep’s life, nothing is wasted.
Sheepskin is one of the few raw materials that nature will never exhaust. In terms of a human’s basic needs, it has incredible value as both a food source, protective clothing, and in some cultures, shelter! The fact that it is both aesthetic and ecologically sound are pure icing on the cake. Please note that the sheep from which our products are derived come primarily from herds raised for their food value rather than their hides. Sheepskin is a recycled byproduct and no endangered species skins are used in our products.
What Kind of Sheepskin Do We Use?
Grade 1. Other manufacturers will state “premium sheepskin” while using Grade 2 and lower skins behind the scenes. Nearly all of the sheepskins used in our production are from Australia, New Zealand and the USA. We tend to select Merino and Romney sheepskin from Australia and New Zealand, or Hampshire, Cheviot, and Suffolk sheep from the USA. The hides are either tanned at the source or in other premier factories using the latest technology available.
These sheep breeds provide the best hides for our products for many reasons. The leather side tends to be thicker and more durable, and the wool itself is very dense and retains its shape. It’s the perfect material for the manufacturing of quality sheepskin products, which must endure a lot of wear and tear, yet keep its shape and look good. Our products, including our pelts, slippers, hats, and auto accessories benefit from these superior materials.
The Tanning Process
The raw sheep hides are first purchased by the tannery from a raw skin dealer or meat packing house. Then they are graded, salted, packed by the raw skin dealer and then shipped to one of our premier tanneries around the world.
The hides are unpacked at the tannery and then trimmed and graded for size and quality. Next they are washed several times to clean impurities and prepare them for tanning.
Next, the skins are chrome-tanned, a process that ensures good durability of both the wool fiber and leather backing. This process preserves the hide and allows our finished products to be washed with minimal shrinkage. Our medical skins are tanned with BASF Relugan. This patented solution provides tanning that stands up well to washing (it’s a top choice for lambskin used in hospitals) and dyes the wool and leather slightly yellow.
The next step is to degrease the skins by washing and dry-cleaning them to remove the fat liquor content from the hides. This important step in the tanning process removes unwanted odors in the finished hide and insures that the skin will remain soft and silky.
The skins are then dyed to our color specs and dried to perfection before moving on the final finishing step. All our factories use only top quality German BSF dye or American Lowenstein hot water dyes. These hot water dyes are famous for being permanent, stable dyes that won’t rub off or wash out of the finished product.
Finally, the skin side is buffed smooth and the wool side is trimmed, brushed, and ironed to a silky finish using the best technology available. The skins are now ready to be cut and sewn to create our beautiful sheepskin products.