It takes at least five years to fully train an Ettinger craftsperson because each product requires around 50 stages to be mastered. This attention to detail partly explains why Ettinger has been the go-to British small leather goods manufacturer for over eight decades.
Ettinger has come a long way since Gerry Ettinger – the father of the current CEO, Robert – left a successful film career to pursue the business of luxury gifts. At a time when international travel was still considered exotic, Gerry used his extensive contacts in Europe to garner a global clientele. Quality and innovation were at the heart of his company, and before long Ettinger products were gracing the shelves of London department stores, including Harrods, Asprey and Fortnum & Mason. Gerry’s vision never faltered and he continued to run the company well into his 80s, before handing over to his eldest son, Robert, in 1990.
Like his father, Robert is multilingual and well travelled. Setting aside an ambition to work in the Alps, Robert joined the family business. Initially he gained experience working for luxury companies in Canada and Germany before going on to build upon Ettinger’s tradition of craftsmanship and uncompromising quality.
The business is now an internationally recognised specialised leather accessories brand: today Ettinger exports 80 per cent of its products and is available in the Far East, Asia, Australia, the US, Canada and Europe. Robert has also mentored young, talented craftspeople through the Prince’s Trust, QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) and the Walpole Crafted programme. In 1996 Ettinger was appointed as a Royal Warrant Holder to HRH The Prince of Wales.
Given the hectic pace of modern consumerism, the notion of making products that are made to last might be considered old-fashioned, but the company’s timeless designs feel as current today as they did 84 years ago, a point proved at Ettinger’s debut at London Collections Men in 2016. Since then the brand has also attended trade shows in New York and Milan, confirming its status as a key men’s style accessories brand.
Current designs range from the contemporary TT Collection to classics like the best-selling Bridle Hide, to which a new colour, Ettinger Grey, has recently been added. The stationery portfolio has been expanded and, for the first time, women’s purses and keyrings are being stocked in Fortnum & Mason. The company has also appointed leading British show jumper Jessica Mendoza as its first global brand ambassador.
Living up to the strapline, ‘to each their own’, many of Ettinger’s products can be personalised and there is a bespoke corporate gift service.
In the end, it comes down to the experience: when you touch an Ettinger product, you can sense its history, feel the quality and know that you’re holding a thing of beauty. But to see it is to believe it, so visitors are always welcome, by appointment, to the showroom in London to experience the world of Ettinger firsthand.
ETTINGER 215 PUTNEY BRIDGE ROAD, LONDON SW15 2NY +44 (0)20 8877 1616