It can't be 25 years already! I feel like I'm just starting this venture. But the calendar doesn't lie and here we are.
Having strong seamstress skills, retail and merchandising skills and an open creative mind, in 1996 I was asked to come into a business to consult and bring new life to a glove making business that was losing its customers due to offshore manufacturing. The solution in my mind was simple. Make a product that reflects our landscape, our Canada and our hand crafting skills. So I did that and never looked back!
In the mid 1800's, Acton Ontario was a leather industry town made of tanneries and glovers which shaped the community that earned its name 'Leathertown'. What an honour it is for Hides in Hand to continue that culture and heritage. Leathertown roots run deep and we are the last company standing making leather wear products from hides tanned from the still operating local tannery. We have a strong and respectful relationship with the tannery that supplies the finest moose, deer, elk and buffalo hides which are handed in from local hunters. In actuality, the first product we made was the 'Moose Mitt', from the Moose Hides.
25 years later and still designing, I am so happy and proud to continue making, creating and building this business. It's so important to be a Canadian business where everything, absolutely everything is made in our shop and our resources and supplies are from our backyard. We really pride ourselves in that. We are appreciated for being 'Hand Made', 'Canadian' and well known for our Ballet Slippers, our mittens and our hand laced moccasins.
I am proud today to say that in these 25 years, I have gained so much love and respect for my talented and gifted team who supports our mission of handmade. And to my customers, thank you for such amazing support. You have chosen Hides in Hand to be part of your family too and that means the world to me.
Scroll on to learn more about our history
During the 1950’s, the Halton Hills area was well known for the leather industry and it’s many quality glovers and tanneries. The surrounding area offered premium hides from horse and cow, all holding perfect natural qualities for crafting industrial gloves and apparel. Business couldn’t be better for the leather industry.
During this time, Marzo Glove had been a successful manufacturer, supplying hydro and welding industry workers with gloves/apparel. As the needle trade industry began to favour off shore pricing and importing brands, the local handcrafted products with a higher price became less desirable. Local tanneries and manufacturers began closing their doors.
In 1996, Marzo Glove restructured and changed their name to Hides in Hand. With the introduction of Moose, Deer and Buffalo leathers, Hides in Hand began to design fashionable hand wear and focus less on industrial/protective wear. Shortly after, we were approached by a moccasin company from Northern Ontario. They were retiring their business and were interested in our company to continue on. They had learned of our shop, our leathers and our strong attitude towards everything being hand made on the premises.
We were proud to be the new chosen ones to continue on with the beautiful craft of moccasin making. It was a strong learning experience that came naturally to us. After all, working with these leathers was already something that we were accustomed to. Being that these leathers were from the local hunters, we found it a perfect fit as we wanted to continue to create and add to our line of superior leather craftsmanship. This addition to our line quickly became a favorite with our customers, and we felt proud to continue the leather craftsmanship that was so historic and relevant to this area.
"Helping my grandmother thread the needle is where it all started. Soon after that I would watch my mom sew us all frilly skirts and become inspired to do my own. The humming of the sewing machine is a sound I often heard in our home growing up. Throughout my life the sewing machine was never put away. It maintained a permanent spot, and the fabrics and patterns piled up.
My love for sewing and pattern making took a wild turn in the mid 90's when I was asked for my creative input and talent to be brought forth to an industrial leather manufacturing glove factory. The thought of it horribly bored of me, but I accepted this challenge. I soon learned of leathers and industrial sewing machines. I quickly fell in love with the look and feel of leather goods and decided to create a line based on our Canadian leathers.
Moose, Deer, Elk, Bison, Buffalo and Caribou. These leathers had great properties, were washable and had undeniable strength performances. After watching the offshore import business take a chunk out of the industrial side of manufacturing, it was then I decided to create a line of my own. A truly Made in Canada, Made From Canada line of leather goods, apparel and accessories.
Canadian handcrafted leather goods is where I wanted to be. It started off with a single moosehide mitt and decades later, hundreds of items have been added to the line. Being a small Canadian business, independently owned can be a tough ride at times, but when the show is on the road, and literally thousands of people compliment and purchase my products, it all seems worthwhile. Mitts, gloves, slippers, moccasins, purses and handbags, and accessory items are only a few to mention. My inspiration never stops, as it is derived from my roots, surroundings, people, life and day-to-day routines."