If you’ve been reading our blog, the information is fresh in your mind on how we tan the caiman skin you use in your products as well as how to select a skin for your needs. However, you might be wondering where you go about buying caiman skins. We sell them, certainly; but you might be wondering about other options and what they offer you. We’re not the only providers of caiman skin. So below, we lay out the caiman skin supply landscape for you.
Distributors are exactly what it sounds like: they buy skins from tanneries, warehouse them and distribute them to buyers. They keep a large stock on hand which is convenient for a buyer in a time crunch. However, for them to make money, they have to mark it up and charge you higher prices.
Also, their selection is limited. If you’re looking for a specific caiman skin that they don’t have, you’re out of luck—or you’ll need to go with a caiman skin you didn’t really want. Even if the distributor can source you what you want, it’ll typically be at a premium price with long deliveries and often doesn’t come out exactly how you want. When you buy directly from us, you cut out the middleman, eliminating the distributor mark up and allowing yourself the product flexibility and direct communication that you need.
We’re not the only tannery in the market for caiman skin. However, we are one of the only tanneries processing caiman skin in the USA. As caiman skin is classified as a wildlife product, it’s subject to both US Customs and the Fish and Wildlife review which can take time. As a result, deliveries from foreign caiman skin tanneries are commonly several months. On the other hand, we tan and finish our skins here in the United States, which means that we can ship domestically with less delay while still fully complying with all US Fish and Wildlife requirements, including full documentation and proper tagging. That means much faster deliveries without cutting corners. Communication is easy and clear as there are less time zone complications and no language barrier. In addition, we can provide much better service. For example, we can work with customers in person to develop product lines and make product adjustments in a matter of days.
A few of these South American caiman skin tanneries do work through local distributors to service the American market. However, this creates many of the same issues described in the Distributors section above.
Your manufacturer will sometimes offer to source the caiman skin for you. This is a good option because they know exactly what they need to make what your products. Make sure that they don’t overbuy so they can be less diligent about the cutting. Because then you end up paying for more skin than you actually needed. In addition, make sure that they actually have experience in working with caiman skin. Just because they work with leather or even other crocodiles, doesn’t mean they are equipped for caiman skin production. Caiman skin is bonier than most other leathers so it requires specific machinery, training and experience.
With that said, we respect our competitors very much. They are good at what they do and have been a positive force in our industry for a long time. We simply want you to know why we believe we can serve you better.