Open Your Own Leather Jacket Company

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Coriu, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. Coriu

    Coriu A-List Customer

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    Here's a fun thought for everyone. If you were going to start your own leather jacket company today, how would you do it? Who would be your target audience? How would you compete against established brand names, or would you try to find a niche to avoid that? For those of you brave ones who would try to directly compete against a Langlitz or an Aero, what would be your strategy to establish a profitable business? Assume you would be leveraging your entire new worth to open this business, so how much risk would you be willing to take in establishing your business model?

    There is something you will need to consider in establishing your business...a threat. Market research firm Infinium Global Research predicts that the the vegan leather market will be worth $89.6 billion by 2025. That's a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49.9 percent over the forecast period, which is from 2019 to 2025. These findings echo a Grand View Research study from early 2019 that predicted the vegan leather market would be worth $85 billion by 2025.

    Here is one such vegan option. Note the pricing. So, this emerging market would potentially be competition for your company.
    https://veganleatherusa.com/collections/jackets/products/vegan-leather-chopper-jacket
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
    air likes this.
  2. Coriu

    Coriu A-List Customer

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    ...some background. Several days ago a poster questioned the leather quality used by a couple of manufacturers. It got me thinking. "If I was owner of those companies, why would I upgrade my product?" ...my reflections, and would love to hear yours.

    Forgive the US-centric approach, but it makes for a good example. The following are all US manufacturers. I took a stab at identifying several market niches, using price points. I realize there may be outliers within these ranges...they are meant to be general ranges.

    $350-$550 range Fox Creek, Hillside USA, TRD Leather, Brooks, Walter Dyer
    $550-$750 range Vanson
    $750-1000 range Schott, Johnson Leathers
    $1000+ Langlitz, Lost Worlds, Bates


    In that $550-$1000 range, we've got three. JL has their own sub-niche in that they do bespoke. So let's just focus on Vanson and Schott. What is the motivation for companies like Fox Creek and Hillside to upgrade their product? That would potentially put them in direct competition with Vanson and/or Schott.

    Now consider the aforementioned questions I asked concerning the opening of your own US-based manufacturing company. Anyone entering the market with product in the $550-$1000 range will likely have to compete directly with the two 800-pound gorillas, Vanson and Schott. And, in addition to those companies already in the $350-$550 range, we now have an emerging market of vegan leather jackets in that price range to attract customers to a lower price point.

    So where's the opening in the US market? Langlitz and Bates both lean toward the motorcycle jacket, so one option could be the high-end, $1000+ jackets. My only competition would be Lost Worlds. But it begs the question, how many customers will there be in the future for a $1000+ US-made jacket like an Aero?

    It would be great for competition to have more US manufacturers making "better" jackets around the $750 price point, but I can see where Vanson and Schott are big deterrents to anyone wanting to target that market. Those manufacturers in the $350-$550 range are likely right where they want to be for now. For those customers on the fence about leather vs. synthetic, the Fox Creeks of the world can make an argument to the customer "for the same price you can get REAL leather from us."

    I hope I am wrong, but I think Schott is going to be in trouble in years to come, unless there are big changes in the economy. I can see them getting bought up by an equity firm that will look for money to suck out of the brand, and ultimately lower quality. It happens all too often today. If that happens, it could make Schott jackets incredibly desirable in the future. Anyone wanting a "very good" leather jacket 25 years from now may be forced to look for vintage vs. new unless they are quite wealthy.
     
    jonbuilder, air and Monitor like this.
  3. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead One Too Many

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    It's a great question. A simple answer... If I was starting something today, I'd probably do a Vanson level except I would upgrade the designs (slimmer, more classic copycats with some "new" twists, etc.) and offer a few more leather options. Try and stay in the $650-950 range.

    As has been discussed in the Hype thread, once you cross $1000, the difference is really in the quality of leather and workmanship. Unfortunately both of those aren't going to be noticed by 90% of your potential audience. So you're limiting your growth (if all you're doing is trying to make money).

    A more complex analysis... I was thinking about something similar the other day. What sort of priority to assign when buying a jacket? I think most of us break it down according to-- Design, Fit, Quality Leather, Quality Workmanship, Price. Not to highjack this thread, but I think they're related, how do the members weigh these categories when deciding what to buy?

    For me, Design is most important. If it doesn't look good, I don't care what leather it is or how perfect the stitches are. I guess in this category you can include how rare that jacket is or uniqueness, so it might not just be about how "good" it looks.

    Next is a tie between fit/quality of leather. It's got to fit well, but I'm not a stickler as some on here. I'm ok with a little crease or little too loose or little too tight. I want a nice leather, but I don't need the best tannery in the world. I want something with character and something that will develop and evolve.

    Workmanship is important but I'm ok with a basic standard. Of course I don't want it falling apart after a few wears, but the extra critical things are not important to me. I have brand new, big chain, mass produced jackets that will not have issues with zipper functionality or seams staying together, etc. So I don't think it's a big issue to hit a basic standard. The extra bells and whistles of french seams, double stitching or fancy stitch patterns, laser precision, etc. are not worth the upgrade for me.

    Lastly the price. Hard to gauge because it is a bit of perception, hype, actual value or resale value, etc. I've bought jackets from $25 to $1500, and all I can say for me is when the jacket is right, based on my priorities above, I don't care whether I paid $25 for it or $1500 for it. My happiness level is the same. Of course I realize I'm judging the jackets differently at each price point. So I guess the better way of saying it is I'm not afraid of the price so long as it equals what I perceive I should get at that price point.

    Assigning lets say 10 total points to the category. I'd prioritize like this:

    Design 3
    Fit 2.5
    Leather 2
    Workmanship 1.5
    Price 1

    So going back to your question, I think a Vanson style company is the perfect combo for me with some tweaks to modernizing some of the designs and having a few other leather options.
     
    jonbuilder, Coriu and handymike like this.
  4. dudewuttheheck

    dudewuttheheck My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I just wouldn't. I wouldn't want to put my name on something unless I was making it myself or if I really knew and trusted the person making the product. I don't want to sew, so I just wouldn't do it.
     
  5. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    I’ve had this dream!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
  6. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    The market doesn't seem big enough for another maker unless there is a point of difference so great people will want it. Schott has done what it has to say alive. Quality leather jackets in good patterns will not help Schott survive. Fashion might.

    What does surprise me is the appalling quality of marketing and photography of jacket makers - Vanson, Schott, Langlitz. Surely they are losing customers based on these dreary photos that make the jackets look sub-par. Anyone doing jackets needs to get the marketing right.
     
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  7. CBI

    CBI One Too Many

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    based on my observations of future customers, young people, I think the vegan/fake leather jackets will ultimately be what people wear. I am thinking 10 years out. Young people want an ergonomic jacket that is comfortable. My guess is the Vegan jackets will be developed so that they look pretty authentic. I have seen some pretty awesome looking vegan/fake leather shoes so its only a matter of time. Sure, there will be folks out there wanting the real deal but the numbers will be small/smaller over time. Not what I would like to see happen but that is my opinion.
     
  8. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    didnt vegan leather used to be called plastic?......in the old days before euphemisms?
     
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  9. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead One Too Many

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    vegan leather = jumbo shrimp

    need to come up with new name.
     
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  10. Angel

    Angel Familiar Face

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    I disagree.
    As long as animals are killed for their meat, there will be leather. Because it's just too great to be thrown away! A good leather jacket is just what you say: an ergonomic jacket that is comfortable.
    So I think there is no need to make fake leather look authentic as long as the "real deal" is there in an abundance.
    If somebody does not want to wear leather because of ethical reasons, that's totally understandable!
    But why does it have to look like an animal's skin then?
    It would be great if less animals would be slaughtered and if their leather would be used for high quality jackets.
    Now masses of animals get killed and masses of "throw away" leather products are produced.
     
  11. jacketjunkie

    jacketjunkie One Too Many

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    As long as people eat meat, there will be more waste dead animal skin available than anyone could ever turn into leather. Look up the numbers of animals slaughtered each day, I don't want to get political but they are high, insanely high. So vegan leather doesn't concern me too much for atleast another 30 years until people wake up and realize it's not sustainable to continue eating that much meat.

    So as for how I would start a leather jacket business; same as any other business, work out a rock-solid concept. If I was to give a rough outline right now, I'd say 2.5-3 oz naked cowhide to please both fashionable people and the "i want substantial hide"- minority crowd that we are. Standard sizes only, regular and long. No custom bullshit, way too much work and trouble. Simple designs in workwear fashion, large panels, reasonably sized zippers, multiple inner pockets. Price range 600-800. Limited runs in exotic hides at 1000-1200.
     
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  12. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    I disagree with your disagreement. :D I know quite a few young people (20 to 30) from many backgrounds who would not wear leather under any circumstances as it is 'not cool' for a range of reasons. They don't care if it is the by-product of meat production. Fake leather is a curious thing. And let's not forget all the vegetarian restaurants that serve fake meat. Fake animal products are a major thing and not going away. Depending on what happens in culture this attitude could easily become more widely accepted. Personally I always though vegan leather was polar fleece. :eek:
     
  13. Coriu

    Coriu A-List Customer

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    Why would I want to buy your no-name brand when I could potentially get a Vanson or Schott(depending upon the style) in the $600-$800 price range? Not being a smart-aleck...just trying to facilitate discussion.:)
     
  14. Will Zach

    Will Zach One Too Many

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  15. Monitor

    Monitor

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    Some months ago I dreamt that I walked into an abandoned, old house and in the middle of the room was a headless mannequin, wearing the coolest leather jacket ever. This leather jacket would be what I'd base my entire business around. But since I can't make a leather jacket or anything at all for that matter, dream is all that this shall remain.
     
  16. jacketjunkie

    jacketjunkie One Too Many

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    Because Vanson offers no workwear styles except arguably the Dakota, they are mainly biker stuff, their leather is too thick and stiff for most people and while their cuts are hery functional, their designs have tunnel sleeves so wide that make even muscular people look like they skipped biceps day.

    Schott on the other hand does offer a few jackets that fall in the same category, I cannot disagree with that, would have to make the difference in particular design and hope to meet people's taste.
     
    Coriu likes this.
  17. jeo

    jeo Practically Family

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    This is based on the premise that people want the "leather look".

    This is just my observation, but I feel I'm seeing less and less of the "leather look" whether it's real or vegan. In fact, I'm seeing less and less people wearing wool and other types of natural materials.

    What I'm seeing more and more of is the synthetic stuff.

    I would only open a leather jacket company if I could bring something new to the table as far as designs without it being too wild/crazy/avant-garde looking.
     
  18. CBI

    CBI One Too Many

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    yes, that's kind of where I was going with this. at least half of the young people I know either "don't eat meat" or are trying not to. Young folks don't like the idea of eating/wearing animal anything and its growing. Just matter of time.
     
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  19. CBI

    CBI One Too Many

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    Yes that is true, less of a leather "look" even.....................
     
  20. Coriu

    Coriu A-List Customer

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    I'm going to talk to my psychoanalyst and have her tell me the meaning of your dream.:)
     

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