Let’s hope these Indian-made products are safer than those made in China.
Thanks to the Economic Times for this article.
Pet love ends tanneries dog days
10 Oct, 2007
KANPUR: Thanks to Swarovski-studded collars and muzzles for cats and rabbits, dog chews, jewel-laden horse accessories and even toys for Americas pets, Kanpurs ailing tanneries are back in business.
Americans spend $41 billion a year on their pets; with the right products, you could make them eat out of your hands,” says Idris Ahmed, MD of Leatherage, which recently forayed into making dog chews. For many years, Mr Ahmed has been making finished leather and shoes for the domestic industry, but struggled with exports. Now, he talks business with the likes of Tesco and Wal-Mart.
In another part of the town, 28-year-old Aamir Raza of Euro Pet Products brings samples of his products to his meeting with ET to make a point. We make pet collars and muzzles. But we also specialise in Swarovski-studded products. The designer products do not go to retailers as they arent for mass consumption. They are sold directly to agents or pet owners,” he says in impeccable English larded with an accent he picked while travelling the world meeting big companies like Wal-Mart and Tesco.
The tanneries had come up in Kanpur during British rule for making saddles. Our saddles were so good that we continued to get orders from Walsall (in the UK), the global hub for saddlery. Most of Walsalls saddlery units have closed down due to high costs. However, the same companies source our saddles and sell them under their own brand names now,” says AKIs Asad Kamal Iraqi. The local tanneries also claim to have made accessories for horses that pull the Sultan of Bruneis cart and a pair of shoes for President George Bush. But its difficult to make an official claim as we dont own the brands,” says Mr Raza.
These new opportunities, which derive from the US and European companies efforts to reduce costs, have begun to transform the industry here. Swanky glass facade factory buildings in place of antiquated units reflect the changing face of an 80-year-old industry. Our strength is low cost. What we produce for a meagre e2-3 in Kanpur sells in retail stores in Europe for e100,” says Rajiv Jalan of Arvind Shoes.