We use the finest cowhide leather for our products. A cowhide is very thick, and is usually split into layers. The outer layer of leather is called top grain, and is the part of the leather that can be processed into a soft and smooth quality. Top grain is used for all the important surfaces on the product. We choose the origin of the leather very carefully, making sure that the cows are being bred and treated well and that the slaughterhouses employ proper ethics and standards. The tanning process uses a lot of chemicals and water and can be very polluting. Simon Li is a member of of The Leather Working Group (LWG), a global initiative to secure environmentally safe leather, and apart from inspecting and requiring high standards, we also encourage our tanneries to be members of LWG. We are committed to mitigating the environment impact of the tanning process.
We also ensure that our leathers are free from any toxic substances through careful selection of our tanneries, and strict process control and approval procedures for the tanning processes. And of course testing the product - and testing it again - at authorized, globally acclaimed labs and testing institutions.
We employ leather engineers, experienced quality engineers and factory personnel who through rigid procedures assure the leathers are of the right quality for its purpose. We have a leather testing lab at the factory where each and every batch of leather is tested for physical capabilities such as tear, wear, strength, flexing, dry rub and wet rub. In fact, Simon Li was the first company in China to have a certified British Leather Council (BLC) Leather Technology Testing Lab in the factory. Additionally, we conduct careful quality control at the tanneries that deliver the leather and make sure they comply to the national environmental standards.
After arrival to Simon Li the leather hides are stocked on “horses” to make sure they stretch out to avoid folding marks. The temperature and moisture levels in the warehouse are also tightly controlled. We inspect all our leathers for color shading and match control by using a certified light box to make sure colors are consistent for each and every batch of leather. We make a physical check of surfaces of each hide before it is put in production.
Before the first piece of leather is cut, a serial number and ID is created in the Simon Li ERP system for the individual piece of furniture that is about to be created. This ID number will follow the leather and, later on, the produced piece of furniture through production and will also accompany the sofa to the home of the end user. This ID contains all information about this product, the materials, quality controls, processing, production and shipping time. The ID also contains information on each individual that has been an important part of the production.
During production, small scars or defects in the hides are marked and our experienced cutters will carefully cut the hides to pattern. For safety during the cutting process, the cutters wear metal mesh gloves. Once the leather is cut, the pieces are rolled together and move on to the sewing department where experienced tailor craftsmen will sew the pieces together creating a cover that is ready for the final upholstery process. Throughout production, the leather is handled very carefully and given the due respect it deserves for all the resources and work that have gone into it.