A great accessory, be it a wallet, a handbag, or even shoes, doesn't just happen overnight. There is a reason that so many of these pieces demand very high price tags compared to cheap knock-offs. Quality is still a thing and nowhere can you find better quality of leather products than in Italy - this is why Güs turned to the Italians to fabricate all of our products - this is why.
1) Heritage. The Italians have an incredible history of craftsmanship dating back to the Italian Renaissance of the 14th century that literally started in Tuscany and centered around Florence, the same region Güs is manufactured today. It was this explosion of art and culture that influenced the region, Europe, and the rest of the world. Fine craftsmanship was revered and respected the world over. Today, this heritage is still at the core of Italian culture and techniques and ideas have been passed down and improved upon from generation to generation.
2) Innovation. Italy is still highly regarded for design and innovation. Look at companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Gucci, Ferragamo, and so many more. Everything from aerodynamics to textile manufacturing is constantly innovating to stay competitive both locally and globally. In China, many of the machines used in some of the higher-end factories for leather manufacturing were made in Italy - from large presses to sewing machines. So, when Güs wanted to develop a new tanning process for alligator only Italy was capable of developing such a process - and believe me, we looked everywhere (the US, Asia, France, Germany, etc.).
3) Details. The manufacturing studios in Italy are often smaller than the sample rooms at large, Asian factories. The staff all don white lab coats to keep dirt away and work areas clean. They will focus on the most minute details of how a wallet pocket might be stitched or folded, how a zipper needs to be sewn into a handbag, or what material is best used to back alligator for a stronger billfold while maintaining its superior supple feel. Generations of leather workers are will gather around to discuss solutions for the most subtle of details but the result is a better product.
4) Materials. The biggest leather show in the world is held each fall just outside of Bologna and all of the designers, tanneries, textile houses and manufacturers of leather goods and soft goods from around the world converge on Lineapelle. The designers and developers from Güs attend the show to source new and amazing leather and textiles, see the new fashion and manufacturing trends, and meet industry specialists and representatives. We get educated...and that education goes directly into our products.
5) Quality. All of this matters. Regardless of if you are buying a $200,000 handbag from Hermés or a $300 wallet from Güs, all of this quality matters and using these highly experienced studios, top-level glues and materials from Germany, and tanneries from Tuscany - all of it combined produces a better made, better quality, and better designed wallet or handbag than a quickly manufactured imitation.
When you are looking to invest in a true luxury wallet or handbag check a few things to insure you are getting what you are paying for - especially if you don't know the brand or manufacturer:
- Where is it made? Products made in China can be very, very high quality. However, most of the imitations and illegal knock-offs come from there, too. Coach is beautifully made in China (we have witnessed this first-hand). But Louis Vuitton does not manufacture in China. So if you see an LV bag that says "Made in China" run!
- Check the hardware and zippers. I often look at the details of a wallet or bag to verify its quality and authenticity. Is the hardware poorly finished? Does it have the brand's logo on it or is it unmarked? Do the zippers slide smoothly? (Güs uses YKK zippers that are hand-polished in Japan - arguably the finest made zipper in the world.)
- Smell. The cheaper knock-offs user bad (and often toxic) glue and other materials that literally stink! Smell the inside of the bag, there should not be any harsh or toxic smells.
- Lining. Another area for shortcutting on quality is using no or very cheap lining materials. Look closely at the lining and how it is sewn into a bag.
- Quality. Use ALL of your senses to check for quality - especially your brain! Often, it is a deal that seems too good to be true, it often is.
- Source. Lastly, consider where you're purchasing a product from. Are they trustworthy or is it being sold on a blanket on a street corner?
We hope these help you understand more about our industry, our products, and our intentions.
The team at Güs