Our South African Story
Your comfort and need for ‘South African Made’ comfortable, quality shoes and slippers, from genuine leather and 100% Merino sheepskin, has resulted in us being able to write our story.
Back in 2006, Abrie, the owner and founder of Leathercraft, was looking at selling a product or service that people would want to buy and which could eventually evolve into a business. A dream of starting a driving range, Rangease, took a completely different course and turned into Leathercraft’s lovely ‘Sleepy Sheepy Slippers’ range of today!
Starting out with buying slippers from a manufacturer to resell at markets such as the Boeremark and the Irene Village Market as well as online, Abrie soon felt that he wanted to improve on the quality and the pattern of the bought slippers. He therefore enrolled in a Shoe Designing course to be able to design and manufacture his own brand of slippers. The search for suppliers for raw material began and very soon Abrie met mister Todorov from African Merino who gave him a few sheepskins to experiment with when he learned about his dream to make his own slippers. As the cliché goes – the rest is history! Abrie designed a pattern, Leathercraft was registered as a business in 2006 and the manufacturing of the quality shoes and slippers were outsourced.
More or less at the same time of starting out with the slippers, Abrie realized that a lot of people will struggle to find the seal Vellies from Namibia, after ‘oom Andries’ who used to sell them from a trailer next to the road in Pretoria East, passed away. Long story cut short, Abrie followed the trail of the Vellies from Pretoria to Namibia. The Arcto factory in Namibia closed down, and after discussions with the owner, Abrie obtained the patterns for the Vellies and other shoes and boots from the factory. Being able to now also design his own shoes, Abrie re-designed the patterns to make his very own Leathercraft brand of shoes and boots. At first the manufacturing of the shoes and boots were also outsourced.
As time went by Abrie’s dream to own his own factory and shop became more and more persistent. In August 2016, driving past Manor Place Centre in Lyttelton Manor, an advertising board for a shop for sale caught his attention. The shop, Centurion Health Shoes, was for sale and could easily be converted into a factory shop and the products would also be complementary to Leathercraft’s existing products. On 15 September 2016 Abrie became the proud owner of Centurion Health Shoes and Leathercraft Factory Shop.
In 2017 Leathercraft recruited their first seamstress and factory assistant and started manufacturing their own slippers and shoes. Today Leathercraft employs 6 people, Betty and Minah, our seamstresses, Thami and Xoliso, our factory assistants, Sophie our cleaner and Zandri, business partner and manager. Zandri officially became a business partner in October 2020 although she has been working behind the scenes as a silent partner doing the administration of the business since the early days.
Our mission is to provide you with comfortable, durable slippers and shoes. You must return to us over and over again – we want you to be as comfortable with us as you are with your family and friends. We just LOVE it when you walk out of our shop with your new slippers and shoes on your feet and the old ones in the carry bag! We are proud of the quality products we manufacture.
Our vision is to be the best manufacturer of slippers, Vellies and Health Shoes in South Africa and to increase our Leathercrafting Courses. We see ourselves branching out with more shops and also expanding to Europe. Through this process we will be able to create more jobs, teach more people skills and make them part of the Leathercraft family.
Don’t wait for opportunity – create it. “Unkown”
Dreams become reality through faith and perseverance. “KD Hanes”
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. “Colin Powell”