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Santa Fe Leather Collection by Dilana™
Santa Fe Leather Collection by Dilana™
We started importing finished product in the mid 1980’s. Our first import trip was to Bogota, Colombia. Although, many people are aware of Colombian coffee, few have any idea how renowned Colombia is for their leathers and their old-world craftsmanship. Upon visiting the factories we were most impressed with their work ethic and their attention to detail. Mass production is certainly not their mentality; they truly take pride in each and every product that comes off of their work station. Consequently, these products have their own individuality. The full-grain Colombian Vaqueta leathers are definitely unique to this part of the country. Although, other tanneries around the world have attempted to duplicate the leather and tanning process, the fact is it hasn’t ever been done. Other countries are importing the finished Colombian Vaqueta hides. However, even with the Colombian hides, the finished product loses much of the integrity without the marriage of old-world craftsmanship inherent in products made in Colombia.
As our importing experience improved we discovered that Colombian Vaqueta leathers are not all the same and have a definite range in quality. Today all of our hides come from high in the Andean mountain range. The benefit is that the climate is cold, and the animals don’t have the insect bites and undesirable markings found on animals in warmer climates. The leather is extremely supple and the distinct characteristics lend a unique personality to each product. The Santa Fe customer doesn’t have to be a leather expert to determine that this is an exceptional leather product. Considering this product has a very rustic casual appearance, we had quite a challenge to find hardware that properly complements the leather. In our search for the perfect hardware we ran across a Colombian foundry that made us feel as if we had gone back in time. The rustic brass hardware is unique to our product and custom made to our exacting specifications. It is no mystery that many customers describe this collection as the ‘attire for the weekend warrior’. We love the fact that many of the ‘weekend warriors’ are professionals and high paid executives. The common theme with each Santa Fe customer is that they are looking for a casual rugged looking leather product, that helps them transition from their chaotic professional or business lifestyle to a more relaxed vacation mode. The collection includes a variety of soft unstructured duffels, backpacks, messengers, business and computer briefs, shave kits, gadget bags, and travel totes. The bottom line is this is ‘feel good luggage’.
Many of our customers ask why the collection is called Santa Fe, and the answer is actually quite simple. The product and components are manufactured and created in Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia. This collection is another fine product created for the National Luggage Dealers Association (NLDA). This collection is part of the Dilana™ family of products that can be found exclusively at any NLDA retail store, the largest group of independent Luggage & Gift specialty retailers in the United States.
I guess you can say I grew up in the leather industry. It all started with my dad, and I always looked forward to spending time with him.
I have always had a fascination with leather goods. My father managed a shoe store that carried only better name brands. I grew up in a small town with a population of 50,000 people. The city only had two foot doctors at the time, and despite the fact that they were fierce competitors they both sent their patients to my father to fit them for orthopedic shoes. All these years later I still hear stories that my father is the reason they no longer have foot related problems, and that their feet no longer pronate (turn outward) or supinate (turn inward). I find it interesting that none of them credit the foot doctor who diagnosed their problem.
Although my father was not a foot doctor, he certainly was the foremost expert in selecting the proper shoe. Naturally, my father was also an expert when it came to product knowledge and leather care. He was always of the philosophy that you get what you pay for, and a better product was ultimately a bargain in the long run. The fact is, quality products hold up better and last longer.
My father genuinely believed in the old adage that you get what you pay for, and today I share in this philosophy. Which is exactly why we are working with the finest tanneries in all of Colombia. At the end of the day, its all about the leather! We use full-grain Colombian Vaqueta Leather, and the hand of this leather is the reason our customers keep coming back. Our leather comes from high in the Andes, where the climate is cold, and the animals don't have excessive insect bites and unsightly markings. Our supplier is known for their old world craftsmanship, marriaged with new world technology. The lining is specially treated and completely water repellant. We accent our product with antique brass hardware to give the product the old-world retro charm. Growing up with this philosophy, it’s no surprise that I ended up in this related industry.