Brand in Focus the British Bag Company

Heritage to Stand the Test of Time

The British Bag Company is part of the Arnold Willis group founded in 1946 and are still based in Uppingham where in 1951 a new purpose-built factory started to accommodate the growing work force.

Arnold Willis group designs and manufactures quality fashion accessories including belts, bags, braces, small leather goods and gifting and employs around 150 staff around the Midlands. They also have partnerships with factories in China, India and Spain and supply to some of the top retailers in the country including Marks and Spencer, Topman and Next, as well as Barbour and Paul Smith.

Traditionally a belt manufacturer Arnold Willis soon found opportunities to supply his hand-crafted leather work to the renowned stores of the time. With a passion for centuries old, traditional leather working he hired local artisans to work in his purpose-built factory in the smallest county in England producing pieces to the highest standards in leather craft, and quickly building himself and his company a reputation for premium workmanship.

With all things going well Arnold set about expanding his empire with the acquisition of all other businesses manufacturing leather products and swiftly bought up Ashby & Bryant, D L Hewitt Leicester, Coventry Brace Company, etc, etc.

One of the biggest acquisitions made was in 1981 when Arnold Wills acquired the Birmingham based men’s accessory supplier Lambournes Sophos Ltd who had first established themselves in 1868.

Arnold Wills have continued to acquire many other companies over the years and have amalgamated them into the Uppingham manufacturing site. In 2011 the company entered a new joint venture to produce leather goods in India under the name Leder Wills. It is now one of the leading manufacturers of leather goods in Kolkata, India.

Having use of their own tannery gives Arnold Wills an upper hand on the competition. They comply with all ethical sourcing and the factory is SMETA(SEDEX) audited.

Leather was once a discarded by product of the animal industry, but today more and more people are realising the benefits of this alternative to the polluting, disposable fashion of the 21st century.

The British Bag Company range utilises woven cloth and leather from the finest mills and tanneries across the globe. Their collections are influenced by the rich British Heritage the company has within its own factories, helping them design and deliver pieces that will stand the test of time.

No two pieces of leather are ever the same. With a mission to sustain the manufacture and quality of its product the finest of leather is always used. A lot of time, money and human craftmanship goes into the making of each product.

Genuine leather or full grain leather mean the same thing, and both refer to top quality leather, it is the entire top grain layer and is known to be the strongest part of an animals hide. Full grain leather is hard wearing, durable and keeps its shape, it also more often than not, is left in its natural state so any branding, scarring or imperfections can be clearly seen. This can lead to manufacturers discarding these hides as sub-standard knowing that consumers will not pay for them but which in turn makes the cost of a smooth, flawless, blemish free, full grain leather item all the more expensive.

Environmental changes and changes in sustainability are turning manufacturers to look at the old ways of producing their products.

With leather being a natural product already it makes sense to look towards nature to provide a natural tanning process hence vegetable tanning. Not only does this process use little electricity but also uses natural vegetable tannic acids, found in bark, branches and leaves, to alter the construction of the animal hide. This makes the end product, stiff, durable and strong and able to last a lifetime forming a patina based on your life’s backstory.


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