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4 Reasons to Use Python Skins for Handbags


bleached python skin can make for a very attractive, and more even colored, handbag.

In a recent post, we talked about our favorite exotic leathers to use for handbags. Today, we wanted to dig a little deeper into why we love python skin as a material for handbags, and why we think you’ll want to use this particular exotic leather for your next handbag project.

So, without further ado, here is our list of reasons to use python skins for handbags.

Reason #1: Size

Pythons come in many sizes. On the small end, pythons can be 1.5 meters long and 25 cm wide. On the larger end of the spectrum, some pythons can grow to be 6.5 meters long and 60 cm or more in width, which makes this exotic skin ideal for the large panels required for plus-sized handbags.

With many skins, finding large, intact hides of sufficient size to fill a panel for a handbags can be difficult. The large sizes that python skins can reach, however, make acquiring skins of sufficient size for a handbag much simpler. In fact, python skins have been used for even larger projects, such as bed frames, sofas, and tables.

Reason #2: Availability of Grade I Hides

When making a handbag or other object that requires large panels where flaws cannot be easily hidden, you need a hide that has little to no defects such as scuffs, scars, and holes. Such defects can ruin the appearance of the final product.

Because python hides are collected from farms in addition to wild sources, it is much easier to find grade I skins that are free of flaws. Animals that grow in the wild are exposed to any number of potential sources of harm, from prey animals fighting back, predation by other animals, or harm from natural events such as a tree limb or rock falling on the python’s hide and puncturing the skin. Farmers protect python skins from being harmed by eliminating the potential for contact with predators and other forms of accidental damage.

This is one reason why pythons made the list of our favorite exotic leathers to use for handbags and anacondas did not, even though anacondas also reach large sizes and have well-defined scale patterns.

Reason #3: Scale Patterns and Markings

Python skin makes for a very distinctive and attractive handbag.

If you choose to use an unbleached python skin for your handbag, you’ll also enjoy the benefit of having a truly unique, one-of-a-kind pattern in the handbag you create. The natural markings of the python are highly recognizable and distinctive, serving as a badge of authenticity for the handbag. When a handbag is made with unbleached python skin, people will know right away.

Even bleached, the smooth scales of the python help to accent the look of the handbag, adding texture that can be both seen and felt. Whether with an elegant gloss finish or a more casual matte wax finish, the sleek scales of the python on a handbag are a beauty to behold.

Whether you choose to use an unbleached skin to highlight the natural markings on the hide, or bleach it before dyeing it to create a smoother, more uniform look, a python skin handbag is sure to turn heads wherever it goes, even among gatherings of the rich and famous.

Reason #4: Flexibility

While an untanned python skin can be very rigid, once the hide has been chromed and re-tanned with vegetable-based tanning solutions, it becomes very flexible. This makes python skin leather ideal for products that require the ability to flex, such as large handbags.

Because the python’s hide will flex easily, it is less likely to develop crease marks when it is subjected to being bent, which happens to handbags quite frequently as their owners dig around in them for that one item they’re looking for or are holding the bag in place with their arm while walking about.

Overall, python skin is a high-luxury material that will serve the needs of your most discerning clients extremely well. It’s beautiful, flexible, and available from your favorite exotic leather suppliers. To learn more about python skin, check out our free guide at the link below, or contact Pan American Leathers today.

Python Skin Guide

How Disney Used Exotic Leather to Bring Maleficent to Life


Python Skin such as this adds the perfect touch of sophistication, naturalness, and exoticness to Maleficent's outfit in the movie.Recently, Disney released its highly anticipated new take on the classic animated tale Sleeping Beauty to DVD and Blu-Ray: Maleficent. In creating a truly unique costume for Angelina Jolie to wear while playing the film’s title role, the costume designers turned to exotic leathers to create a truly inspired, one-of-a-kind look that evoked memories of the old animated classic’s character, and evolved that look for a modern audience.

Why Use Exotic Leather for This Character?

For most common fashion applications, exotic leathers are used because of their inherent beauty, strength, texture, or ability to symbolize affluence. In this movie, however, exotic leather was used in Maleficent’s costume not only because such leathers were perfect for creating an instantly memorable and visually compelling design, but because they actually help to characterize Maleficent herself.

As Jolie recalls in an interview posted on Yahoo Movies, “She’s not trying to [look] sharp… She just finds skins and snakeskins and skulls and bones.” In other words, the exotic leathers used in the costume are there to add to the authenticity of the character’s look by giving her a wardrobe made from what would be available to her in her forest home.

What exactly was available to Maleficent in her forest home?

Exotic Leathers Used in the Maleficent Costume

To clarify, there were actually several costumes made for Maleficent, each one incorporating different hides and with slight variations on the design. For example, in an article featured on, it’s revealed that Justin Smith, a milliner who worked on Jolie’s Maleficent costume, “created six different headpieces that corresponded with the seasons and specific scenes.” Each of these headpieces incorporated different materials as necessary to fit the scene, including:

  • Stingray skin, with its telltale beady texture, is durable enough for stunt work, but beautiful enough for a center display piece in a major movie scene.

    Stingray Leather. Tough, beautiful, and water resistant, stingray leather possesses a unique, bead-like surface texture that is unlike most other leathers. The calcium rich beads in the stingray’s skin allow it to resist abrasions and punctures that would rip regular cowhide to shreds.

  • Python Skin. Used specifically for Maleficent’s “summer look,” python skin is a popular material for projects with large panels. For the movie, the natural scale patterns were bleached out and dyed over to get a more uniform appearance that would blend well with the rest of Maleficent’s outfit for those scenes.

Other natural materials used in Maleficent’s movie costume include soft goat “Nappa” leather for her robes, duck and other bird feathers for her shoulders and a set of physical prop wings that were used as a model for the CGI wings in the movie, and bones for her jewelry.

Where did the inspiration for this costume come from? According to Yahoo Movies, the team of costume designers was led by Oscar-nominated Anna B. Sheppard, who took inspiration from French and Italian art ranging from the 15th century through the Renaissance, in addition to the original character design from the 1959 animated feature.

For this movie, exotic leathers were the perfect way to heighten the authenticity and the exotic nature of the character of Maleficent, creating a more fully realized character that is more striking than “evil witch in black robes” would be with plain cloth.

If you know of any major movies to use exotic leather, share it with us in the comments below. To get answers about different exotic leathers for your next project, contact Pan American Leathers today!

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Our 3 Favorite Exotic Leathers to Use for Handbags


There's a lot of money to be had in the purse/handbag industry, especially for creative and talented designers who use top-quality materials.In the high-fashion industry, accessories such as handbags are an intensely competitive market for designers. For many top fashion houses, handbags are a lucrative business, one that keeps them very busy. In fact, some fashion houses have waiting lists for their handbags that very wealthy clients will be on for years before getting their handbag.

In a field where clients are willing to wait for years to get their perfect handbag, it’s important to have a product that stands out for the right reasons, one that exceeds the client’s expectations. A great way to start creating the perfect handbag to please the most demanding clients is to use the very best materials for that handbag.

One way to create a truly unique look while making sure that your clients know that you’re using the best materials for a handbag design is to use exotic leathers in your handbags. With this in mind, we here at Pan American Leathers have assembled a list of some of our favorite exotic leathers to use in handbags.

Top Handbag Leather #1: American Alligator Skin

Alligator leather is a very popular choice for handbags, it's flexible, distinctive, and easy to work with.Alligator leather is a very popular choice for handbags; it's flexible, distinctive, and easy to work with. Of the different crocodilian species used for leather, the American alligator is perhaps the most luxurious and easiest to work with.

The hide of the American alligator has very little calcium. This makes American alligator skin much less bony in comparison to other crocodilian species. Because there is so little calcium in the alligator hide, the hide is flexible and easier to dye. When you want a solid, even color in your handbag, alligator leather is your go-to material.

With the flexibility of alligator hide, it makes for an ideal material for handbags. Why? Because, over time, handbags will be repeatedly exposed to both light and severe bending from everyday use. With repeated flexing, a more rigid skin will begin to show crease marks. However, alligator skin, being more pliable than other crocodilian hides, will not show crease marks as easily. This allows alligator hide to continue looking like new for longer with less maintenance.

Top Handbag Leather #2: Python Skin

Python skins are large, wide, and flexible, which makes them almost perfect for handbags.A native of Southeast Asia, the python is a reptile that needs no introduction. Gathered from both the wild and from farms, the python is a popular choice for many different high fashion and design projects. Part of the reason for this is the size that python skins can grow to: small skins are 25 cm wide and 1.5 meters long, while the largest skins can be 60 cm or more in width and as much as 6.5 meters long. In short, python skin is easily large enough to meet the panel size demands of a large handbag. 

Because these skins come from farms as well as the wild, it is often easier to find the kind of large, grade I skins needed for items with big, open panels such as handbags. This makes the python a superior choice compared to the anaconda, which is taken only from wild sources which makes getting large, pristine skins incredibly difficult. 

The primary drawback with the python is that in some markets, such as California, you cannot trade in items made from python skins. 

With python skins, you have a choice of whether or not to use the natural skin patterns of the python in your project, or to bleach the skin and dye it to make it a consistent, even color. While it may be slightly more difficult to use the natural scale patterns in a manner that creates a perfectly polished look, it can be well worth the effort for the uniqueness and the added authenticity a natural finish provides. On the other hand, using a bleached and dyed skin may make it easier to match the handbag to a specific collection of fashion wear.

To learn more about python skins, check out our Guide to Python Skin.

Top Handbag Leather #3: Caiman Skin

Of the exotic leathers on this list, caiman skin is one of the most cost-effective, making it great for a larger product launch by comparison. While more rigid than alligator leather, caiman skin is still a top-rate material for high-fashion accessories such as handbags.

Caiman skin comes from farm-raised sources, which helps to ensure that there are more grade I skins available on the market than skins that only come from wild sources. The largest commonly available caiman skins are roughly 40 cm in size, making caiman skins better suited for small to mid-size handbags.

With caiman skin's natural rigidity, these hides are particularly well-suited for use in hard-case type handbags. 

To learn more about how you can work exotic leathers into your next handbag project, contact Pan American Leathers today!

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Working with Caiman Skin for Handbags


Caiman handbagCaiman skin is a popular choice for high-fashion accessories and footwear. Not very long ago, we discussed a few general tips for working with crocodilian leathers for handbags. In the world of high fashion, handbags made from crocodilian hides are highly desirable. Ultra-wealthy clients pay top dollar for handbags made of crocodile skin, as a mark of distinction in the fashion community. Today, we’d like to talk about the use of caiman crocodile skin for handbags specifically.

Why Use Caiman Skin for Handbags?

One question that many designers of high-fashion accessories often ask themselves before starting work on an exotic leather project is “why would I want to use this material for this project?” Such questions lead to thinking critically about the project, what the goals of it are, and how the material in question contributes to making the best product possible.

With caiman skin being one of the more difficult of the most popular crocodilian hides to work with, why would you want to use it instead of Nile crocodile or American alligator skin for your handbag project? There are actually a few reasons for using caiman skin in your handbags over the other types of crocodilian species, such as:

  • Cost. On average, for every Nile croc skin that you could afford for your leather project, you could buy three caiman skins for close to the same price.

  • Rigidity. Often viewed as a negative quality, the rigidity of the caiman’s hide can actually be desirable for hard-case designs. The pronounced, calcium-rich scales in caiman skin are sturdy, making them ideal for a more rigid case design.

  • Natural Scale Patterns. With caiman hides, the calcium deposits in the skin actively resist getting an even dye color. While this can make the skin more difficult to dye, it also helps to establish the final product as a genuine crocodile hide product. The lighter-colored portions of the hide represent a mark of the calcium in the hide. This adds authenticity to the final product, and lets buyers know that they’re getting a genuine crocodile skin product, not a stamped imitation.

While generally regarded as being more difficult to work with than the other crocodilian hides, caiman skin is still a high-quality material for any high-fashion project. Using caiman skins to the greatest effect can separate the pros from the amateurs when it comes to fashion design.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for getting the most out of caiman skins for handbags.

Tip #1: Picking the Right Skins for the Job

In general, you want to avoid using hides with holes or other blemishes for handbags.When picking out caiman skins for your handbag project, it is important to find clean, defect-free skins of a considerable size for each panel. 

In general, caiman skins are good for small to mid-size handbags. Small handbags take skins that are somewhere between 30 and 34cm wide, while medium-sized handbags need skins that are 35 to 39cm wide.

The largest caiman skins available commercially ar 40cm in width. This can make finding enough caiman skins big enough for a large handbag much more difficult than finding ones for small to mid-size ones.

As a general rule, you’ll want to use grade I skins for any handbag project because handbags have large, open panels where it will be difficult to hide the blemishes and puncture marks of a grade II or lower skin.

When making a bulk order for caiman skin, try to make sure that each skin comes from the same dye lot. This helps to ensure a more consistent appearance for each skin that you use, and prevents the possibility of any single handbag having an uneven appearance where individual panels don’t have a consistent coloration.

Tip #2: Treating the Skin

Caiman skin is a relatively inflexible material compared to Nile crocodile or American alligator hides, which is a direct result of it having more calcium in it than the other two skins. Because of this, it is more likely to develop stretch marks or creases from being flexed too much than the others.

To reduce the appearance and severity of crease marks in the hide, you can apply crocodile leather conditioners to the skin to protect it from becoming damaged. Treating the skin with a conditioner can also add luster while helping to prevent outward signs of damage from daily wear and tear.

Tip #3: Sewing

Preparing sewing lines before putting a caiman hide under your machine can make life much easier, and make your sewing needles last longer.The calcium deposits in a caiman’s hide make for an interesting challenge when sewing said hide into a fashion product. More than once, a sewing machine’s needle has been bent or broken by hitting a hard calcium deposit in the hide of a caiman.

Two things you can do to avoid this include:

  1. Marking calcium deposits and laying skins on panels in such a way as to minimize the number of them that you’ll have to sew over.

  2. Preparing sewing lines with a dremel to thin out the calcium deposits so that a sewing needle may pass through.

Doing either (or both) of these can help you to reduce the number of times production has to be brought to a halt in order to repair the sewing machine so that work can continue, saving both time and money in the end.

To get more tips about working with caiman hides for handbags and other popular accessories, contact Pan American Leathers. Or, you can get a free project consultation today using the link below.

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Announcing New Caiman Hornback and Nile Crocodile Skins in the Shop!


The strong ridges of a caiman hornback skin make it great for creating bold designs, even when colors are subdued.In many of our recent posts, we’ve discussed the use of crocodilian skins for leather accessories and fashion wear, particularly for handbags and boots. Today, Pan American Leathers is proud to announce that we have added both Nile crocodile and caiman hornback skins to our shop page!

These popular crocodile hides are the perfect way to create a truly memorable and one of a kind design for a variety of fashion accessories.

Uses for Caiman Hornback Skins

Caiman hornback skins are ideal for the following uses:

  • Automotive accessories. Caiman skin is often used in car upholstery and other accessories.

  • Handbags. Caiman hornback skins lend a strong patterned look to handbags, ensuring look that is unique and striking in handbags.

  • Boots. For western-style boots, few exotic leathers are as ideally suited to the task as caiman hornback skins.

  • Home decoration/furniture. When a design client wants to create a memorable living space that guests will talk about for months to come, exotic leathers such as caiman hornback skin are perfect for creating a lasting first impression.

Caiman hornback skin prominently features the ridges and heavy scales of the caiman for all to see. This emphasis on texture and pattern creates a strong impression on those who see it. 

What to Use Nile crocodile Skin for

Crocodile skin is a luxurious and beautiful material for any high fashion project.

Nile crocodile skin is a luxurious and beautiful material for any high fashion project.

For the most part, Nile crocodile skins are useful for all of the same applications that caiman crocodile skins can be used for. What separates Nile croc hides from caiman hides is the fact that they tend to have much less calcium in their scales. This renders Nile skins softer and more flexible than caiman skins, making them easier to work with. For example, when used for belts and handbags, the superior flexibility of a Nile crocodile’s skin allows it to bend more easily without developing crease marks. This makes Nile crocodile skin even more desirable as a material for high-fashion wear and accessories.

Beyond being useful for belt, handbags, and high fashion accessories, Nile crocodile skins are a great material for creating large-panel items such as large handbags because they are softer and available in larger sizes than caiman skin.

Another thing that separates Pan American Leather’s new Nile croc skins from the new caiman hornback skins is that the Nile crocodile hides are belly cuts. Where the caiman hornback skins feature strong scale ridge patterns prominently in the center of the hide, Nile croc belly skin is more recessed and smoother in appearance. The effect for your final product is a sleeker, more streamlined look that is great for creating a subtler, more elegant look.

Check out the Pan American Leather Shop Now!

If you’re interested in crafting a unique piece from some of the finest, most luxurious hides on the market, check out the Pan American leather shop to see what colors and cuts are available for your next project today.

For small orders, we can ship from our U.S.-based tannery in upstate New York or one of our USA-based showrooms to ensure fast delivery. For large custom orders, we can ship from our tannery in New York or Bogotá (for caiman belly or hornback) for better pricing.

Pan American Leathers is an independent retailer of custom-tanned exotic leathers for a variety of high-fashion industry clients. We’ve supplied top-quality skins to many of the top fashion houses in the industry, but have remained independent so that you can get the same quality and service that leading fashion designers count on for their products without the conflict of interest that is inherent to dealing with a fashion-house affiliate.

The team here at Pan American Leathers is here to help you get the best exotic leathers to match your needs. We look forward to seeing you at our showrooms in New York City, New York and Fort Worth, Texas soon.

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4 Tips for Making Crocodile Skin Handbags


Crocodile leather handbags are a hot commodity on the high fashion market.Crocodile skin is a luxurious, supple material that is very much in demand in the fashion industry. With high-fashion crocodile handbags selling for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, getting the manufacture of your crocodile skin right is incredibly important for impressing ultra-wealthy clients. With this in mind, we’ve assembled a few short tips for making crocodile skin handbags that should be helpful.

Tip #1: Choosing Your Crocodilian Species

There are a few dozen different species of crocodiles in the world, a few of which are commonly used for leather. Three of the most popular are:

  1. The caiman crocodile.

  2. The Nile crocodile.

  3. The American alligator (it’s a member of the order crocodilia under the scientific classification).

With handbags, you generally want to have a flexible material to use for the bag. The caiman crocodile has the boniest skin, rendering it less flexible and harder to work with, while the American alligator has very little boniness to it at all, making the most flexible and easiest to work with. Nile crocodiles fall in between these two extremes, having some calcium deposits, but not nearly as much as caiman crocodiles do.

This boniness also affects how well each species of crocodile will take to being dyed, so keep that in mind as well. Bonier hides are tougher to dye evenly, while less bony hides are easy to dye.

Tip #2: Choosing the Size and Grade of Hides

Caiman hides are measured a bit differently from alligator and Nile crocodile hides.With handbags, you’ll need to use very large, clean panels of skin for each bag. High-fashion handbag customers want only top-quality workmanship and materials, so top-grade skins will be the most desirable. In most cases, you will need a nearly flawless, grade I skin to get the best results.

For small handbags, the crocodile hide should be at least 30 to 34cm wide. Medium-sized handbags generally need 35 to 39cm wide skins, and large handbags take 40 to 50cm wide grade I skins. If flaws in the skin are kept to the extreme edges of the hide, you might be able to use a grade II skin that is oversized.

Tip #3: Using Scraps for Straps

If the layout of your panels leaves you with excess hide, use that extra skin to make the carry strap, gussets, interior details and other odd parts. This can save you a large amount of money on buying extra skins, and gives you accents that will perfectly match the handbag they are attached to.

If you don’t have enough excess material to do this, consider buying smaller, grade II or III skins to make into carry straps. With these straps, it’s easier to work around flaws in the hide, as long as they aren’t extra-wide. When buying hides specifically for straps, make sure that they’re the same type of cut (belly or hornback, for example) and come from the same dye lot as the ones being used for the bags themselves.

Tip #4: Preparing Sewing Lines

Leather sewing machines might be heavy duty, but even the toughest needles can bend or break on a calcium-rich skin if it isn't prepared correctly.When working with bonier hides such as caiman or Nile crocodile skins, be sure to prepare sewing lines with a dremel or other tool to thin the hide and prevent calcium deposits from bending or breaking your needles. In the long run, taking a few minutes to prepare sewing lines will actually save you time and frustration on fixing up your sewing machines and replacing needles every other motion.

To learn more about using crocodile leather for handbags, contact Pan American Leathers today!

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Why Buy Exotic Leather from an Independent Seller?


Alligator leather bags are in high demand in the fashion world, with price tags of tens of thousands of dollars and waiting lists over half a decade long, it's little wonder the big fashion houses are in a rush to get their hands on top-quality materials to speed up the process and make more sales.In the world of high fashion, securing the supplies needed to craft the best luxury wear is an enormous challenge. Top-tier luxury clients demand only the best products, which often means using rare exotic leathers such as crocodile and alligator skin. According to a statistic featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, the value of the luxury accessories market topped $77 billion U.S. dollars in 2012. That’s 77 billion reasons for high-end fashion studios to dedicate themselves to the task of securing the very best resources.

For a long time, alligator leather handbags, footwear, belts, and other accessories have served as a mark of distinction, a way of affirming affluence and making bold fashion statements. 

Why Big Fashion Houses are Buying out Crocodile/Alligator Farms, Exotic Skin Factories, and Tanneries

To satisfy consumer demand for ultra-high-end products, the big fashion houses, such as Louis Vuitton (LVMH), Prada, and Gucci, are in a virtual arms race to procure the finest exotic hides for their products. As a part of this race to have the most exclusive products, big fashion houses are buying out alligator and crocodile retailers, from the farms, to the tanneries, and even factories that specialize in exotic skins. By doing this they can:

  • Secure a steady source of top-quality exotic hides for their products (allowing them to shorten the wait times customers have to face, which can be years-long for some).

  • Keep competitors from being able to acquire the best hides, extending those competitors' wait times and lowering their ability to match quality.

This increases the exclusive nature of a fashion house’s products, giving them a competitive advantage. It also allows them to justify the expense of buying out alligator and crocodile farms as an investment. These cash-rich fashion industry giants can soak up the costs and pay them off with a small handful of handbag sales. 

The Trouble with Buying Alligator Skin from Fashion-House Affiliates

When dealing with a supplier who is owned by a major fashion house, remember who the puppeteer pulling the strings is.After spending sizeable amounts of capital to make these acquisitions, big fashion houses are naturally inclined to make the best use of them. The “best use” of a crocodile farm in this case typically does not involve making top-grade skins available to potential competitors.

When every product sold represents tens of thousands of dollars, fashion houses have no reason to supply their competition with the crocodile skins they need to operate for a fair price, assuming they’ll make a sale at all. With a fashion-house owned or affiliated supplier, there’s a built-in bias that is, quite frankly, impossible to really avoid.

“How is this bias reflected,” you ask? It is reflected in the:

  • Skin Selection. When the farm, factory, or tannery is owned by a big-name fashion house, that fashion house will keep the most select stock for themselves to gain a competitive advantage.

  • Price. With a house-owned outlet for skins, the fashion house will want to charge a premium to part with their skins, one that makes buying from a fashion house-owned retailer of hides less than ideal.

  • Delivery Times. If a farm or tannery has to make a choice between fulfilling your order in a timely manner and completing an order from the fashion house that owns them, they’ll fill the fashion house’s order first, every time. This manifests as delays in the shipping speed of your order.

When a farm is outright owned by a fashion house, its financial future becomes inexorably tied to the success of the fashion house that owns it. As a result, the needs of that fashion house will always have to come first.

Getting Great Materials from an Independent Source

Rather than having to deal with suppliers who are owned by one of the major fashion houses, you can get your exotic hides from an independent supplier who has the quality products that major fashion houses demand, but remains independent so that you can have rest assured that you will be given fair treatment.

For example, Pan American Leathers, Inc. has been serving the needs of the top fashion houses for decades. Unlike other suppliers, however, we have stayed independent of these fashion giants so that we can provide the same quality hides and service to all of our clients, independent of conflicts of interest.

As a tannery and a distributor, Pan American Leathers can create custom orders to meet your needs, or expedite the shipment of ready-made hides in stock as necessary.

Get the top-grade exotic leather you need to compete with the high-end fashion houses today!

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4 Benefits of Using Alligator Leather for Handbags


Alligator skin handbags are a hot commodity for high-fashion clients. Make your mark with your own alligator skin products.As many designers know, the market for high-fashion handbags and other accessories is an intensely competitive market. With so many major fashion houses out there with such a strong grip on the market, it can be difficult for any single fashion designer to stand out.

However, difficult is not impossible.

With the right design, a lot of hard work, and some top-quality materials, you can make a gorgeous handbag that high-fashion aficionados will covet for their own collection. What is a top-quality material for handbags, you ask? One example of a top-of-the-line material for handbags would be American alligator skin.

Why would you want to work with alligator skin? It is a top-rate material for handbags, with a price point to match, which may make it prohibitively expensive for some. However, the exclusivity is part of the allure.

What are the benefits of working with alligator skin as opposed to plain cowhide? Read on and see.

Benefit #1: It’s Visually Distinctive

With an alligator hide, your final product has a built-in texture from the natural scale pattern of the alligator. This adds visual pop that helps to set the bag apart from ordinary cowhide and catches the attention of high-fashion accessory lovers.

Benefit #2: It’s a Very Exclusive Material

Alligator skin is prohibitively expensive, which makes it very exclusive. Ultra-wealthy clients wait for years for their orders with the big fashion houses to be filled, and/or pay exorbitant sums for used bags from private collections because so few of these bags are available and the demand for them is so high, which brings us to our next point…

Benefit #3: It’s Highly Sought After

Fashion wear collectors love alligator skin handbags.Top-end fashion clients love buying things made from top-end materials, and alligator skin is a top end material. When fashion clients buy alligator skin handbags, they’re coming in prepared to spend top dollar, making alligator skin handbags a very lucrative venture for any up-and-coming fashion designer.

Upper-crust clients know how rare and valuable a top-quality alligator skin handbag is, and they want one of their own. For many of these clients, a genuine alligator leather handbag is a badge of distinction, a mark that they have it all, while others simply insist on having the best, and will settle for nothing less.

Benefit #4: It’s a Mark of Quality

The best handbags are usually made from the best materials, and people know it. Alligator leather is widely regarded as one of the best materials on the market for high-fashion handbags, so any handbag made from alligator skin lends cache to your brand. 

Getting Your Alligator Leather

Overall, alligator leather is an excellent material for creating high-fashion handbags. Luxurious, supple, and very easy to work with, alligator leather is a top-quality material for talented fashion designers. However, it is one that can be hard to acquire because of the incredibly high level of demand for it and the limited number of skins available.

Alligator skin is in very short supply, so distributors don't typically stock much.

Tanneries, on the other hand, make skins “to order,” so you can get virtually any color of dye applied to your alligator skin. The major drawbacks here are that it can take a long time for an order to be processed, and the tannery will have to cover their setup costs with a surcharge.

Pan American Leathers offers the best of both worlds by acting as a tannery and as a distributor. We keep a ready stock of popular colors for short-notice orders, or we can custom tan your alligator hide order to give you the finish and coloration you want.

Check out our online store or contact us to learn more today!

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Alligator Leather, A Great Option for Your Footwear



Want to take a walk on the exotic side? When you are looking for a material that will give shoes a stylish up-scale look, there is only one choice that is exciting enough to grab your customer’s eyes. Alligator leather is a durable material that is beginning to gain popularity with buyers who are daring enough to be different.

Alligator leather is a product known for luxury. It’s becoming a commodity that is popular with designers that want to invest in an material that will last for ages. Plus, a quality-made pair of shoes made from alligator leather can sell for well over a grand, which means high profits for manufacturers and stores alike.

Alligator leather makes great men's or women's dress shoes. There has been an increased demand for this product in the market for its lasting qualities and opulent look.

As well as being known for its aesthetic appeal, the product is also known for having a great feel. Alligator leather has a soft, smooth touch that’s hard to find in any other material. However, there are some unique considerations to think about when purchasing alligator leather for your company's footwear.

skinThe Richness of American Alligator Leather

The American Alligator is the Rolls Royce of leather richness. The least bony of the different crocodilian skins on the market, the texture of the American alligator is unbeatable. This is arguably one of the most luxurious leathers you can get. It’s noted for its smooth, consistent scales. Alligatore scales are also more noticeably circular than other leather options. Most of the time, the skin that is used is taken from the belly of the animal. The belly usually makes for the most consistent, defect-free leather.

Buying Quality Leather

Even though you're going for a high quality look, it doesn't mean you need the highest priced product. For shoes, a grade 2 or 3 alligator skin is usually safe to use for most footwear styles. The important thing to remember if you choose a grade 2 or 3 skin is to take a look at the defects of the product and make sure that they are in out-of-sight places. Here are some unique factors to consider when buying alligator leather for your footwear:

  1. The price of an alligator's skin is related to its grade. One benefit of making shoes from this material is that they can be made from a grade 2 or 3 skins, which aren't quite as expensive as grade 1 skins.  

  2. It's important to buy the skin in pairs for your shoes. Even if you're making one pair of shoes, it is essential that two skins are used. One pair of footwear should come from the bellies of the gators and the other pair should use skin from the tails. This way, none of the leather goes to waste. The rest of it can be used for foxing of the shoe.

  3. The skin from the underside and tail of the two gators should be similar to one another. Here, you're really trying to make sure the size of the scales are close to each other in appearance. High-quality leather pairs of footwear will be extremely similar in pattern. After choosing the grade of skin you’d like to purchase, you can then move onto choosing a finish.

The Price to Pay for Quality Alligator Leather

The two primary deciding factors of price are:

  1. Grade: The standard of grading starts at 1 (best) to 4 (most defects). The basis for the grade comes from a number of criteria. The first thing to look at is how many scratches, holes, inconsistencies or blemishes are present. In order to be considered a grade 1 skin, there must not be any defects present on any area of skin. A grade 2 has defects present in one quadrant and grade 3 has them in two quadrants. Typically, grade 2 and 3 are used for footwear. The last grade of gator has issues in three quadrants of the gator and is usually reserved for accessories, such as belts.

  2. Next, the grader looks at the size and shape of the skin. The larger the gator, the better the grade. Typically, the skin is measured in centimeters starting at the widest part of it’s underside. For shoes, you will need about 20-29 centimeters for a piece of footwear.

Pam American Leader in Leathers

If you want to invest in a quality product that will drive your shoe sales, alligator leather is a great option. Every article created from it is unique. Sure, it may take some time to determine the right choice for you, but the results are well worth it. Pan American Leathers has been an industry powerhouse since 1984 and continues to serve excellent leather products. For more information on this product, contact Pan American Leathers directly.

Alligator Skin Guide

General Care Tips for Crocodile Leather


Taking proper care of crocodile hide products can prevent unsightly damage such as cracks or scratches.When you make a high-end piece of fashion wear, odds are you want to make sure that whoever buys that item takes proper care of it so that it will last for as long as possible. Keeping fashion wear looking nice keeps clients happy.

Of course, once the client has bought their custom-made crocodile skin boots, your control over how the product is taken care of is over. However, before the client leaves with their fashionable new footwear, there are a few general tips you can share with them so that they can get the most useful life out of their crocodile hide products.

Please note that this list consists mostly of general advice, and that some leather finishes might require extra care steps:

Storage Tips

When not in use, crocodile leather items such as boots or shoes should be kept in a cool, dry environment. One example of an appropriate place to store crocodile leather boots would be in a shoe closet.

For larger crocodile leather pieces, such as jackets, avoid folding them tightly. Crocodile skin, particularly caiman skin, has calcium deposits in it that makes the skin more rigid. Folding the skin too tightly at points that were not meant to be folded can cause damage, resulting in unsightly cracks or crease marks.

Ideally, instead of trying to fold leather items and putting them in a small dresser drawer, they should be hung on a coat hanger. Crocodile leather belts should also be hung by their belt buckles to avoid causing cracks in the leather.

Cleaning Tips

Exposing leather to excess water can cause damage to the finish, so avoiding excess moisture is a must to keep leather looking like new for longer.First and foremost, you should always avoid getting leather excessively wet. While many may assume that their crocodile leather repels water rather than absorbing it, too much moisture can actually cause damage to the finish of the leather. So, if your crocodile leather wear gets wet, it is important to clean off the excess moisture promptly.

To remove excess moisture, gently rub the affected area of the crocodile leather product with a soft, dry towel or cleaning cloth to soak up the majority of the excess moisture. Once that is done, hang-dry the item to finish removing excess moisture. It is important to avoid using direct sunlight or any other direct heat source when drying the leather, as that may cause damage to the finish and result in discoloration or cracks.

After the leather is dry, apply leather conditioner formulated for your crocodile leather to help protect the finish and keep it looking new. When applying the crocodile leather conditioner, be sure to follow the application instructions on the conditioner’s packaging.

Leather conditioner for crocodile hide should be easy to find at any exotic leather goods retailer. However, if you are having difficulty finding the right crocodile leather conditioner for treating the specific finish of your crocodile skin, contacting the manufacturer can prove helpful for finding the right crocodile leather care products.

For removing dirt, dust, and other contaminants, the process from above remains largely the same, possibly minus the time spent drying the leather. First, remove the contaminant with a dry cloth. For fine particulates such as sand, using a slightly damp cloth to remove the dirt can make the initial cleaning process easier, but the leather will need to be dried and treated with conditioner afterward to reduce the risk of damage to the finish.

Whenever trying a new leather care product on a crocodile leather item (or any other exotic leather item), first test it on an inconspicuous part of the item first to see if it affects the finish adversely. For example, the inside sleeve or cuff of a jacket. This way, if the new product does cause some discoloration, it won’t be in a place where everyone can see it right away.

With proper care, crocodile skin products should remain beautiful and ready for use for years to come. Sharing general care tips such as these, and tips that are more specific to the crocodile leather products you make, can help prolong the useful life of exotic leather goods and keep the clients who purchase your goods satisfied and coming back for more.

  Caiman Skin Guide

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