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Cortume Krumenauer: five generations tannery and an innovative retail concept

Apr 25, 2024 Brazil
Cortume Krumenauer: five generations tannery and an innovative retail concept
Get to know Cortume Krumenauer, a Brazilian-based tannery specialised in the production of vegetable-tanned leather and learn more about their business, which now also includes Sculp Leather Store
With a history dating back to 1911, Cortume Krumenauer (Krumenauer) is a Brazilian tannery specialising in the production of finished, drum-dyed and vegetable-tanned leathers for the leather goods and footwear industry. Its facilities cover more than 8 000 square metres and have a production capacity of around 1 300 hides per day. The company employs a total of 120 people in administration and production.

Krumenauer has a long experience in the global markets as it has been exporting for more than 60 years. Roughly 90% of their leathers are aimed at the foreign markets, with the US and China being the main destinations. Other major destinations include India, the Czech Republic, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Guatemala, France, and Germany.

Sustainability

Krumenauer aims to become an international benchmark in the leather industry while remaining committed to the principles of sustainability. To this end, it’s constantly investing in this area and, over time, has perfected a system for treating and disposing of solid and liquid waste. The company highlights that the waste from the vegetable tanning process can be treated for reuse in the soil industry, as it is the result of an organic process and is therefore biodegradable. According to Director Lucas Krummenauer, the company stands out “not only for our quality, but also for our commitment to sustainability. Our production of vegetable-tanned leather significantly reduces environmental impact, reflecting our commitment to preserving the environment”.
The tannery’s environmental practices have earned it a gold medal from the Leather Working Group (LWG), an international organisation that audits key environmental indicators in the leather manufacturing process.


5 generations

A new generation is now entering the company: the 5th in more than 112 years of the company’s history. According to Lucas, this is “a way of revitalizing our business culture, and encouraging the renewal of methods, processes, and products”.
The advantages of the entry of young people are not limited to this. They allow the company to benefit from “innovative perspectives, creativity and willingness to adopt new technologies, resulting in improvements in operational efficiency and product quality”. In the end, according to the company’s perspective, a more diverse decision-making process can be achieved as new insights and trends from the market are brought in by the new generations, who are also the testimony of the preferences of younger consumers. “The integration of young people in our management team boosts our ability to innovate, grow, and maintain our competitiveness”, sums up Lucas.


The tanning industry in the future

When questioned about the future of the tanning industry Lucas is very straightforward and assertive: “The tanning industry faces a challenging future full of opportunities”. According to him, the growing demand for more environmentally friendly practices is the result of a growing concern with sustainability. Automation and the adoption of advanced technologies are helping to drive the efficiency of production processes and the market is being impacted and shaped by a growing awareness of all involved. And this will continue.

“I believe that the future of the tanning industry depends on companies' ability to adapt to change, prioritize sustainability, and meet global demands. Companies must provide accurate information about the origin and sustainability of their processes to enlighten the market”. Saying this, leather as the “noble material” it is “will always be in demand”, he concluded.


Sculp Leather Store, a retail concept

Sculp is a retail store open to all who wish to acquire leather and any of the tools and materials needed to work with it.

The idea of creating the retail store came after observing a successful business model in other international markets to which Cortume Krumenauer exported, but which was not yet present in Brazil. “This vision has accompanied us for more than 15 years, during which we have also identified the difficulties faced by artisans and small businesses in acquiring small volumes of leather, as well as consistently finding the articles they most appreciated and had already used in previous projects”.

Given these needs were not met by the market, Cortume Krumenauer decided to start the Sculp Leather Store project: "we recognized that the tannery, due to its large-scale production requirements, was not structured to store and supply small volumes, so we saw the opportunity to fill this gap and offer a solution that met the needs of artisans and small businesses, at the same time, while providing a unique and convenient shopping experience for customers".

The store's activity complements the group's tanning operation, serving a different customer profile, who looks for a variety of products different from B2B customers. It “works as the B2C version of the tannery”, offering a wider range of leather, tools and inputs, making it easier to purchase in one place, especially online.



Much business originating from the tannery is completed through the store, especially for smaller volumes, and a lot of business is generated for the tannery from products available or viewed in the store. The store's online presence significantly impacts the national market, where the Krumenauer group has a limited presence, as more than 90% of its production is exported. Thus, the store plays a crucial role in expanding the group's presence and reach in the national market.

“The evolution of our store has been promising. We set out to provide leather standards equal to those exported by our tannery. Since then, we have expanded our offer to include a variety of leathers from several partner companies, imported tools and supplies for leather working and introduced our own line of paints and creams. We also expanded to exotic skins such as arapaima, alligator, stingray, sea lion, among many other items, always maintaining compliance with regulations and certifications".

Another interesting element about Sculp is the availability of training courses available for artisans, which have seen a growing increase in interest.

More information about Krumenauer here.

Image credits: World Footwear


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