The Hidalgo passion for tanning
An introduction to a leather-producing company with roots in Andean culture and pride in natural local products.
“The impossible takes a bit more time” is a statement on Curtiduría Hidalgo’s website – an indication of the confidence that the Ecuadorian leathermaker has in its level of service.
The company made a start when Fabian and Margarita Hidalgo began manufacturing leather jackets. With this becoming a successful enterprise, they were encouraged to produce their own leather. However, while not having their own tannery facilities was initially a drawback, this was rectified after a couple of years of hard work, and Fabian and Margarita finally founded Curtiduría Hidalgo in 1993.
Today, the tannery is being run by the second generation of Hidalgos – Fabian and Margarita’s children Juan and Gabriela have taken up the challenge of producing world-class leather. They are said to have added to their parent’s customer care philosophy by developing a renewed vision of after-sales service.
Curtiduría Hidalgo has announced that it is working in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is determined to be a responsible consumer and producer. The company reportedly operates on a family principle that says ‘you cannot manage or be in charge of a group of people unless you know the effort it requires’.
Juan and Gabriela acknowledge that training local suppliers to achieve a common goal and assuring traceability from farmer to footwear manufacturer are the basis for providing high-quality leather. As a result, Curtiduría Hidalgo started self-assessment to comply voluntary sustainable standards, and took SATRA membership to gain advice, research and testing.
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The company’s management team takes pride in using what they say are the finest Ecuadorian Andean hides from cattle raised by indigenous farmers, while utilising natural products produced by communal enterprises. For example, the tanning and retanning agents selected by Curtiduría Hidalgo are derived from the guarango tree, which is found in the Andes region of South America. Similarly, as part of the softening and lubrication process, substances made from Aloe Vera are included, which the company claims provide leather with the proper level of humidity and, due to their hygroscopic characteristics, mean that physical and mechanical properties remain unchanged during storage. Aloe Vera-based products are also said to feature anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities which, Curtiduría Hidalgo says, are especially useful for leather footwear that comes into direct contact with the feet.
The photograph at the top of this page shows Gabriela, Margarita, Juan and Fabian Hidalgo examining the quality of some newly-tanned leather.
This article was originally published on page 22 of the December 2020 issue of SATRA Bulletin.