Mikko Uusitalo, one of the owners of Ahlskog Tannery, has had the best teacher for his work – his dad Ilkka Uusitalo who has decades of experience in tanning sheep & reindeer leather.
“What I’ve learned is that working with leather takes loads of patience. In case you’re in a hurry, it’s better to take a brake and read professional literature. You can’t take a shortcut”, Mikko summarizes.
Located in a town of Kruunupyy on the Gulf of Bothnia, Ahlskog tannery has almost 100 years of experience in producing sheep leather. Since 1920s they have attracted some of the world-famous fashion houses.
“This is our living room, a home with history”, Mikko describes.
Ahlskog’s secret is not only its high-quality leather but also strict guidelines over environmental issues. According to the European Union’s best available techniques, producing 1 ton of leather shouldn’t consume more than 25 tons of water. With this in mind, Ahlskog has managed to lower water consumption to 12 tons of water per 1 ton of leather.
“In leather production, there are at least 40 different stages, and tanning is only one of them. Each hide is unique, so you have to apply slightly different methods to each of them”, Mikko says.