Friday, 18 September 2015

How to shop quality when buying leather furniture? A Retailers Perspective.

Truth? This article has a little bit of a hidden agenda in the fact we have just brought on the Natuzzi line of leather furniture in our showroom, maybe not so hidden now :)  However, it takes you through, in a simplified way, the process we use when researching what manufacturers we decide to carry in our showroom. We believe that quality needs to be synonymous with look and feel so when we research a line we go through the rigours of determining what a manufacturers offers to us and thus our customers.

Our latest objective was to bring another quality leather offering to our showroom with distinctive styles.
When shopping leather the language in it's simplest form is about 4 things: Top Grain Leather, Split Leather, Full Grain Leather and Corrected Grain Leather.  So right away we could eliminate any manufacturer offering 'Split Leather' in their line up. This leather is sometimes used on sides and backs of many manufacturers leather furniture, it serves a relevant purpose to bring cost down on such items but for our purposes it doesn't offer the quality product we are looking for.   

Probably the most confusing term thrown around by many sales associates is Top Grain leather, this simply means that the leather comes from the top portion of the hide, and does not mean it's the 'top' quality of leather. Having said that we definitely want the leather to be from the top portion of the hide so that's a good step one being Top Grain leather.

This is where the last two terms come in, 'Top Grain Leather' is further divided into Full Grain or Corrected Grain depending upon the quality of hides. To us it's important that a manufacturer offers both as this now plays into the lifestyle the furniture is going to live in.  Does it have lots of traffic with kids, grand kids, or even lots of entertaining, a corrected grain leather situation.  Or does your furniture call for beauty, comfort to be enjoyed by few, a full grain leather environment.

Although many manufacturers will offer both full grain and corrected grain this is where we found Natuzzi set itself a part from many of the other manufacturers.  They hand select their hides and put them through 23 different stages in the tannery process which results in two lines of leather.  A 'Natural' line which is soft, velvety and keeps the original characteristics of the hide such as grain, veining, and colour shades which makes each piece distinctive and the quality is very recognizable to the touch and sight.  The second line is called 'Protecta' which is the corrected grain, they use an invisible protective layer to preserve the beauty of the hide but the coating allows for a more daily use of the leather.  The looks are great like with the Natural line but the feel is quite different.

But remember do not stop at the hide when shopping leather be sure to ask about the frame construction and more importantly that they use a polyurethane foam padding in their seating areas.  You can often determine those things by asking about the warranty, manufacturers will only warranty what they believe will last and when we shop a manufacturer we research with others retailers their experience of the manufacturer holding true to their warranties.

So if you are in planning phase of a new furniture purchase, even if it's not leather that you are looking for, utilize Natuzzi for inspiration and enjoy their team of 120 designers, colour specialists and interior designers, the looks are certainly appealing.

Get a look at some of the selected styles we added to our Natuzzi showroom.