Início Tech Atelier Madre’s Approach to Timeless, Sustainable Leather Goods

Atelier Madre’s Approach to Timeless, Sustainable Leather Goods


Born from a passion for craftsmanship, Atelier Madre is on a mission to redefine leather products by blending traditional techniques with contemporary design elements, creating timeless pieces that embody heritage and innovation.

The inspiration behind this Barcelona-based brand, which officially launched in 2018, can be traced back to a “significant moment” in 2006. During a visit to Bangkok, Atelier Madre’s chief executive officer and founder, Manuel Dreesmann, stumbled upon a vintage weekender bag that he “instantly fell in love with.”

“It took me 20 minutes of bantering to call the bag mine, and I was extremely proud of the find,” Dreesmann explained, adding that friends and strangers would often approach him asking where they could purchase the same bag. “So, on my next trip to Bangkok five years later, I went back to the same market. However, after two days of searching, I couldn’t find the bag again.”

Determined to recreate that “special feeling” of discovering a good vintage item for others, Dreesmann created a small workshop to explore leather craftsmanship after earning a master’s degree in marketing and sales in 2015. There, he learned everything from basic hand sewing to the essentials of running a business.

Manuel Dreesmann

Atelier Madre’s CEO and founder, Manuel Dreesmann, in his workshop.

Courtesy

Having perfected the basics, Dreesmann launched his brand online, offering a small selection of handcrafted, minimalist leather products made with traditional production methods, like its leather sleeves for laptops.

“Atelier Madre was founded from a passion for craftsmanship. Observing the retail landscape, I identified a niche for a new brand that combines traditional craftsmanship with modern design,” Dreesmann said. “The core idea of Atelier Madre is to let artisans take center stage, much like a modern restaurant with an open kitchen. So, we do everything ourselves, including cutting the leather, stitching, gluing and more.”

Planting Roots

After several successful years as an e-tailer, Dreesmann decided it was time to open a brick-and-mortar store. So, in 2021, the brand opened its first location in the “heart of Barcelona,” El Born.

Initially, Atelier Madre’s leather laptop sleeves were the bestselling product, priced between $134.15 and $187.81. However, as the brand diversified its product range to include wallets (priced from $41.85 to $144.88), belts ($101.95 to $134.15), handbags ($155.61 to $450.74) and more, customer preferences shifted, attracting a growing number of shoppers to the store.

“The response to our concept and products has far exceeded our expectations. Every day, hundreds of visitors enter our store, impressed by both our staff and our collection,” Dreesmann said. “This overwhelmingly positive reception has allowed us to grow organically without needing significant outside investment.”

While expansion plans are not set in stone, Dreesmann envisions opening more locations globally as the brand continues to grow.

“I believe that maintaining our steady organic growth will enable us to expand our concept to new locations, both nationally and internationally. If we can replicate the in-store experience online, it would be an incredible achievement,” he added. “With an expanded product catalog and refined concept, I am confident we are on the right path. However, my greatest hope is that we stay true to our core values throughout this journey.”

Sustainable Leather

Although blending traditional techniques with contemporary design elements is the foundation of Atelier Madre, the brand is also committed to producing sustainably.

In fact, the brand works closely with several tanneries in Igualada, a city near Barcelona, to source all its leather. Through this partnership, Atelier Madre has adopted vegetable-tanned leather, a sustainable alternative to conventional leather.

Vegetable tanning is an ancient method that dates back thousands of years, involving natural tannins — a term referring to the use of oak and other bark in tanning animal hides into leather — derived from trees and plants like oak and sumac. This process, which takes several months, yields high-quality, durable leather known for its natural appearance and texture.

One notable advantage of vegetable-tanned leather is its sustainable benefits. The tannins used are biodegradable and environmentally friendly, making this type of leather a preferred choice for those mindful of sustainability, Dreesmann explained.

Additionally, it is considered more environmentally friendly because it does not release harmful chemicals into the environment during production, unlike conventional tanning processes.

“The leather that we use is not only sustainable but also accredited by the Leather Working Group, a nonprofit committed to building a sustainable future with responsible leather,” Dreesmann said. “By utilizing the same leather across all our products, we maximize its yield and minimize waste since it lasts longer than traditional leather. We also believe that a key aspect of sustainability is creating products that are not only durable but also timeless in design.”



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