Conceria Prima Pelle

  • Italy
  • The leather district Prima Pelle is a tannery located in Santa Croce sull’Arno. This region, which is halfway between Pisa and Florence, is a part of what we call the “leather area” (zona del cuoio), as it’s one of the biggest tannery districts in Europe. Here, over 250 tanneries make respecting the territory, tradition and craftsmanship the founding values of their quality products. In Santa Croce, the historical art of leather tanning has gone through an evolution which has made this area a reference model for the industry. Since ancient times, the job of tanner has always been considered very demanding; the style and processing of leather in Tuscany have contributed to dignify this craft and to preserve it over time. Thus, the art of tanning has been passed on through the centuries, from generation to generation, making the profession of the tanner universally recognized in Tuscany as an emblem of a tradition of quality and creativity. Enrico’s story Prima Pelle specializes in the production of reticulated python, ayers python and exotic leathers for the luxury market. Founded in 2007, the company thrives off the thirty years of experience in the tanning sector of the owner, Enrico Volterrani. Enrico, who is now 50, started working at 15, his first job being an employee in a biochemical industry. This was, and is, common practice for the children of tannery clients – familiarizing them with their own biochemical products is profitable for the biochemical industries, so that they will continue using them once they start working on their own. Enrico’s father had a tannery for third party clients; this company worked in a very traditional way, without the aid of new technologies. Like many others, it was a family-based tannery, crafting leather for third parties to use, mainly calf skin. A very different approach from Prima Pelle, which focuses on niche, fine, high quality products such as python leather. Enrico put to good use the lessons learned in his family experience, opting for a more specific sector, the luxury industry, which demands high-end products like reptile skin. The staff of Prima Pelle consists of only 3 people, so there’s a lot of work to do; they work on semi-finished products, finalizing the leathers either in bright monochromes or decorative designs. Enrico decided to set up two separate sales departments: one works business to business and the other works business to consumer and consists of the online shop. Challenges faced during the pandemic Prima Pelle faced major issues and challenges when the pandemic hit: its turnover decreased by 70%, going from a yearly revenue of 380 thousand to just about 100 thousand. In Italy, small business owners have been complaining about the lack of effort made by the State to overcome the Covid-19 crisis, and rightfully so. With the ongoing Russia-Ucraina dynamic, the company’s already precarious situation has been further aggravated. Enrico reports that the Government’s incentives were not at all sufficient to face the pandemic crisis, and the company had no other choice than to get into debt. As of today, Prima Pelle is unable to meet pre-Covid sales rhythms. Working towards success Despite the difficulties encountered in the last few years, Prima Pelle continues its work without giving up the attention to detail and top quality services. Enrico and his coworkers combine their years of experience with traditional Italian leather-making with more recent digital skills and competences, which keep the company up to date with the demands of today’s market. The company fulfills today’s need for business to make their presence felt on social media, with their instagram feed (@conceriaprimapelle) captivating the user and showing the behind-the-scenes of their handicraft work. Their evolution into e-commerce has ensured Prima Pelle the ability to reach a wide scope of clients, with their online shop giving everyone around the world the possibility to enjoy the quality of luxury goods.