"Peter has a lifelong love and passion for leather. He is continuously experimenting into the decoration of leather using colouring, digital printing and embossing."
Peter studied for a BSc (Hons) in Leather Science at Leeds University and continued on to complete a PhD into the effects of leather on foot comfort. He is also a Harvard graduate. Twenty-five years with Pittard’s as technical director, and later managing director of several of their group tanneries, his most notable achievement was the origination and development of their water resistant, stay-soft range of leathers.
Together with his wife Jackie he was the founder of The Identity Store in 2002.
He is our leatherdog. After several mid-life crises he is now developing indigenous tanning methods combining minimum use of natural chemicals with skins from animals that have lived well.
He says, every man and his dog are talking about traceability and sustainability these days, but it is respect and humanity for animals that really counts. “Quality leather is made from love” will be on his gravestone.
" As a teenager, my sister and I would go to Pittard’s tannery leather sales in Somerset and buy bags of offcuts and make chain belts and patchwork bags. I never forgot the impression the company had on me, the beautiful feel of the leather, the smell of the tannery, the foreignness of it all ….. "
I later went to work at Pittard’s as a technical administrator and then met Peter who was then Technical Director . Later we married and in the year 2000 began our fledgling business of selling leather and digitally printing on to leather in Matlock Bath in Derbyshire. Two years later the opportunity presented itself to buy a leathercraft business in Northampton which gave us the UK distributor rights for Tandy Leathercraft and The Leather Factory in the USA. We called our business The Identity Store, supplying leather and materials to people who followed a passion, who were creating their own identities through personalisation, or from covering different periods throughout the ages of history. People making a name for themselves through their own leather work and personal interests.
We thought we knew a lot about leather, however over all the years since, when we have attended show after show (from western and Native American, game fairs, country shows, re-enactment and multi period, to bush craft and falconry) and in meeting so many knowledgeable people, we have learnt so much more. Not only about leather, with all its subtle ways and intricacies, its uses from prehistoric times up to present day, but also the craft of leather work and what is needed for anyone to make from this wonderfully robust natural material.
We have met the most individual, interesting, artistic and engaging people along the way, many who have become friends as well as customers. We work alongside a truly talented and creative team brimming with enthusiasm, knowledge and care. We are proud to be associated with the UK leather industry with whom we have close ties and to all our suppliers.
To my husband Peter, it’s been a blast! I feel proud and privileged to have been on this journey so far with you.
"Working at The Identity Store has given me a chance to learn so much, not just about leather, but also the way people express themselves through their craft and imagination. Every day is different and brings new discoveries about what a truly amazing textile leather is."
After completing a degree in Business Studies, Sarah went on to work with international student support in London, and then for a textile company combining her love of design and fabrics with her business degree. Sarah joined the team in 2011 after working with design company Sibona Decorative Textiles for 16 years. She has had her own craft business running textile workshops, and has worked on visual display for a children’s charity shop in Buxton as a volunteer.
During her time at The Identity Store she has taken on a role as a tutor on the workshops teaching bag making, mask- making and book journal workshops. With her background in textiles, pattern making and visual merchandising, combined with a love of design and colour, she has worked on a variety of leather projects including upholstery. She is able to use her skills to create new templates and kits in addition to her main role with responsibility for sales and marketing at The Identity Store.
You can see her advice videos on our YouTube channel tutorials.
"A recent introduction to leather and leatherwork working as part of the team here has given me a special appreciation for this wonderful and sustainable material"
Mark joined the team in 2021 and his hard work in the background has helped to create new usable spaces at the store, his background in Environmental industries has helped us to focus on methods of working and sustainability..