Luxurious and created with sustainability in mind, Skyeskyns handcrafted goods have created such a buzz that the ‘tannery’ is now a five-star visitor attraction on Skye
Sheepskins have always been a byproduct of raising lambs for meat. When the tannery industry in the UK went on the decline in the late 20th century, one couple raising their own flock on the beautiful Isle of Skye sought to find an effective use for these wasted skins. The solution? The creation of Scotland’s sole commercial woolskin tannery. Skyeskyns was created in 1983 by Lydia and Clive Hartwell from their croft on the Waternish Peninsula in northwest Skye.
Forty years later, Skyeskyns is now steered by the second generation of the Hartwell family, producing high-quality, hand-crafted sheepskins and sheepskin goods. Not only does the family company produce durable sustainable products but Skyeskyns is now a popular five-star visitor attraction, drawing thousands of visitors each year.
Director Jess Hartwell, daughter of Lydia and Clive, has expanded the business to include a stylish boutique in Portree, a seasonal pop-up yurt café in Waternish, as well as developed the online business to sell Skyeskyns products worldwide.
Skyeskyns has expanded its homeware range thanks to its small but perfectly formed sewing team who crafts everything from larger sheepskin rugs to pouffes, cushions, travel mugs with sheepskin holders and more. Each item is hand-crafted with expert care and attention, using natural fibres.
Sheepskins are an enduring interior trend, taking in styles ranging from Scandi to maximalism. A few sheepskin pieces throughout the home add style, texture and cosiness. The Skyeskyns sheepskin rugs and single sheepskin throws are all unique in their colours and textures and oh-so-stylish.
Skyeskyns rugs and throws are predominantly sourced, tanned and finished in the UK with some stunning international sheepskins also available in their range.
Over the years, their range has expanded to include womenswear and menswear including crew neck sweaters, mohair scarfs, leather bags, leather jackets, woollen hats and more, usually sourced from like-minded small family firms with a passion for craftsmanship and quality.
Skye is not just the birthplace of the company, its dramatic landscape is also the inspiration behind new Skyeskyns products and their passion for sustainability.
The island is home to an abundance of creative makers and artists, each bringing a unique skillset to the island. As Scotland’s only commercial sheepskin tannery, Skyeskyns is keeping a legacy and skillset alive for the country. Jess said: “We are proud to uphold an age-old craft and to share it with younger generations and visitors to the tannery every day.”