Tusting: A Five-Generation Family Business Making Exceptional Leather Goods

By CTH Editors

5 months ago

Tusting is a Great British Brand 2024


Tusting is an entry in our Great British Brands 2024 book. 

Tusting: Great British Brand 2024

Woman in dress carrying bag

‘The Tusting family has been in the leather business for five generations, since the 1870s, and for over three decades we’ve been making beautiful, top-quality leather bags and accessories and bringing “quiet luxury” to our customers long before the media got their hands on the term.

Our range offers leather handbags, briefcases, luggage and small accessories, all with genuine function as well as beautiful form. What our customers have in common is that they appreciate our authenticity and are excited to find such a genuine, premium quality product provided by the people who actually make it.

We do everything in the same building, from product design to order fulfilment. We have something special here, creating a product from the very beginning and providing it directly to the end consumer. It’s the leather goods equivalent of a tailor or dress atelier, and we are meticulous in ensuring that our service is just as personal and rewarding for the customer.

While artificial intelligence is an exciting development for the world of commerce, when it comes to making something with your hands, it is not a big help. I can see how it could potentially go into the design process at some point, although it hasn’t yet.  We have a genuine five-generation history, but we also have a wealth of stories brought to us by our customers. Some have bags owned for over thirty years, with plenty of their own tales to tell. We recently received a bag back for refurbishment that came with a wonderful, long letter containing a beautiful story of the owner’s life with this bag. It started with, “We first met three decades ago on the third floor of Fortnum and Mason…” – just like a novel – and was the most touching read. A marketing department can’t invent such extraordinary stories!’

Gillian Tusting, Head of Brand

Man with bags next to car

Five Proudest Moments

  1. John Tusting rescues staff and machinery from a bankrupt leather goods factory in Northamptonshire in 1989 and begins diversifying from tanning leather.
  2. First London Fashion Week runway appearance in 2011 showing the original design for a charging tote bag in partnership with designer Richard Nicoll and Vodafone.
  3. The Duchess of Cambridge is first seen with her Tusting Mini Holly on a visit to Brize Norton in 2021.
  4. Our first collection with India Hicks is launched in 2021, a collaboration that is ongoing.
  5. A 20-year relationship with Aston Martin is cemented with a new programme to create ultra-luxury luggage for the new DB12 model.

What I’ve Learnt

  • Be intelligent and respectful with your customers and they will be intelligent, respectful – and loyal – with you.
  • It’s old news, but the customer still always comes first.
  • Word of mouth is still a critical marketing tool, it’s just more often called social media now!
  • Sometimes you have to trust your gut – no-one knows your own customers as well as you.

TUSTING

The Tannery Warehouse, 29-31 Olney Road, Lavendon, Olney, Buckinghamshire MK46 4EU

+44 (0)1234 712266

tusting.co.uk

@tusting