This is Paul, from aëdle.
Today, I am proud to introduce the first article in a series dedicated to our new made-to-order product line. Because the creative process has always been at the very heart of our company, it became apparent that the most logical progression of our line was to offer the option of headphone customization with the hope of meeting our customer’s desires while remaining faithful to our brand. In effect, the time has come to put pen to paper and start moving forward with a project that has been a long time in the making.
The goal isn’t to transform the present VK line by proposing alternatives to the meticulously-crafted components our headphones, but to allow a color customization of our current VK line with the VK-X. We will remain faithful to our brand, as we are firmly committed to the union between our high-quality leather (which we will talk about today) and our aluminum components.
1) Made-to-order option number 1: leather colors
In deciding to focus on the customization of the headphones, the leather was ostensibly the most logical first choice and the poll we organized last week confirmed this suspicion (thank you for participating!). I take this opportunity to present the origin of our leathers, and the constraints that represent our future made-to-order service.
Link to poll: http://journal.aedle.net/2018/04/25/bespoke-survey/
2) The origin of our leather
In today’s world, “luxury” often means affixing the label of a well-known brand on a product with questionable added-value, having produced the item by means of mass production in a country where the costs to production are low. This is why it is important to distinguish our product as true luxury and one that is crafted using quality material. This quality is evidenced alone by the leather we employ in the construction of our headphones. Even an untrained eye can tell the difference between leather made from pigskin and tanned lambskin.
It is for this reason that we chose a quality lambskin leather in the construction of our headphones. Lambskin is a thin and lightweight leather, which is an important factor when designing a pair of headphones, as they will be worn for several hours in one sitting. Moreover, lambskin leather is flexible, which is necessary for the construction of the leather headband of our headphones. Lastly, lambskin leather has a very soft and delicate feel making it easily recognizable as one of the most comfortable leathers.
This lambskin leather, made-to-order for our company, comes from the Colombier Tannerie (http://www.tannery-colombier.com/), located in Saint-Junien in the Haute-Vienne county, France. The tannery has been in operation since 1925 and has specialized in high-end lambskin since the 1970’s. It supplies itself with the best lamb breeds in the South of France and respects the REACH regulations (regarding the regulation of supply and manufacturing of goods requiring chemical treatment).
Between the reception of raw skin and the finished product, there are 15 different steps (extending over a period of one week) that I summarized here. More detailed info is, of course, available on their website.
Coming from slaughterhouses or wholesalers, the raw skin is trimmed then dampened and washed (1). A lime-based mixture is applied to the skin to remove the wool and to affix tanning agents for later steps (2). Chemical products are subsequently added to the skin to remove the lime mixture and to prepare the skin for degreasing and tanning (3). The tannery then proceeds to a second tanning (4) and leathers (tanning is the transformation of skin into leather) are selected and tinted depending on the customer’s order (6) before being finished (7, see picture below) for consumption.
3) Constraints of a made-to-order service
After having spent the last 6 years offering a limited line of products (with a small team!), this project of personalized headphones represents a true challenge for us, which is what makes it all the more interesting. It requires an increased effort with regard to the whole leather selection process, stock management, and general logistics: Personalised headphones, by definition, are outside the confines of a standard production line and, as a result, require greater attention in construction and assembly. Consequently, it is with great interest and pleasure that we launch this new project with the hopes of pleasing you.
4) Choice of available leather colors for the VK-X
I invite you to read this other article dedicated to the choices we made in terms of leather colors for the VK-X. We are still uncertain for the choice of one of them so maybe you can help!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions or comments. It would be a pleasure to hear from you.
PS : Presently, we are actively looking for new partners in order to offer leather using a vegetable tanning process ; we are also preparing a synthetic leather option for the VK-X.