Ecco celebrate Dutch enterprise

1 January 2002

A little ahead of schedule, Karl Toosbuy arrived in Dongen in early December to open the new Ecco Leather offices and for the 'topping out' of the research and development centre. Originally planned for mid January, the offices were complete but work still continues on the ambitious research and development centre which includes a pilot tannery. As long ago as 1988, Toosbuy saw the need to take control of leather production for his world famous casual footwear and in 1989, Ecco began processing some of their leather, from the wet-blue, in Portugal. Since then, they have progressed with production from the raw in Indonesia (1991) and wet-blue in Thailand (1999), culminating in their most ambitious project to date, Ecco Tannery, Holland, which involved buying an existing tannery complex in Dongen in 2001. Not only did this latest investment involve the construction of a brand new tannery to relocate Unico elsewhere in the complex, but it also means a whole range of new, long-term agreements with local tanners to continue to supply them with wet-blue from the existing on-site beamhouse. Unico's former premises have been refurbished as a wet-blue store and additional drums have been installed in the liming, blueing and retanning departments. The brand new research and development department will enable Ecco to take a very active part in the EU RESTORM project to lay down the best practice principles for a closed loop tannery where all chemicals will be recycled. And it doesn't end there. Ecco are not just planning to supply wet-blue, but are offering a comprehensive range of leathers to other manufacturers. The list is impressive: 35 different leathers; 75 substances; 280 colours; twelve types of raw material; 25 origins of rawhide. Panos Mytaros, managing director of Ecco Tannery Holland BV, told Leather International, that the group plan to process 90% of their own leather in the future and sell 25% of tannery output. However, one must not forget that Ecco are, first and foremost, footwear manufacturers. They were the first to install automated production lines and they also came up with the leisure shoe concept which has since swept the world. Their current ranges are: Outdoor, Casual, City, Shape (fashion), Kids and Sports (Receptor/walking and Golf). Their latest slogan for the Outdoor range is: 'If your feet get cold - it's because you are dead.' New telephone and fax numbers: Ecco Tannery Holland BV tel: +31 162 380 430 fax: +31 162 380 450 Ecco Leather BV tel: +31 162 380 400 fax: +31 162 380 420

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