We caught up with Gillian Tusting – director of marketing for Tusting - a five generation, family-run business, whose eponymous luggage frequently graces the likes of Country Life, The Daily Telegraph, South China Morning Post – and the arm of the Duchess of Cambridge.
Aside from Prince Charles and conquering China, Gillian tells us about life in one of Britain’s most renowned leather manufacturers…
In a nutshell, how was Tusting as a company born?
The Tusting story began in the 1870’s when the great-great-grandfather of my husband Alistair and his brother William (the current owners) opened a leather tannery to supply the burgeoning shoe factories in and around Northampton. We still supply leather, but started making bags from our leathers nearly 30 years ago - creating the Tusting brand in the process.
What do you like most about working in a family run company?
The flexibility. As a working mum, it’s been a real godsend to do my work when it fits into my day. Although I grew up in a farming family, I originally chose a career in the big corporate world of pensions and finance. Joining a family-run manufacturing company took a bit of adjusting to!
What is your proudest Tusting moment to date?
Often the little things make me smile the most. For example, I recently received an email from a client which simply read, “I think it is probably the finest bag I have ever owned. I love it.” Such unsolicited messages truly reassure me that Tusting is doing the right thing. If I had to isolate one moment, it would be our being asked to make a bespoke gift for Prince Charles.
Read more about Tusting’s bespoke gift for Prince Charles here.
What is your favourite Tusting product and why?
My current favourite is our new ladies backpack from our AW17 collection. It’s a piece I designed and it has turned out even better than I hoped! It’s cute, stylish, just the right size and, crucially, it’s really comfortable to wear. I’m hoping I might need to test one in every colour…
New Ladies Backpack – order here.
What are you most excited about for over the coming months?
The last quarter of the year is always our busiest and I love the buzz that the frantic Christmas period brings. We’re all really excited about our new styles for Autumn/Winter ’17 which bring very beautiful, natural leathers to modern styling – they will be launched very soon and everyone who has seen them wants one or more!
If you had to save one photo from your home, what would it be and why?
A photo taken in 1904 on my parents’ farm in Berwickshire. It’s of a 16-year-old Clydesdale mare and her 11 (yes, 11!) offspring, all of which had been bred on the farm – now that’s a family business! It’s completely irreplaceable.
What is on your Wingfield Digby wishlist and why?
I love the trays. They’re so beguiling - you’d never think ‘feathers’ when you first see them. What a brilliant conversation starter!
Wingfield Digby Guinea Fowl Tray – Available for £60 here.
What is your favourite feather type?
Tusting are kindly offering 15% discount to all Wingfield Digby customers on orders placed before Saturday 30th September. Simply enter gift code WING15 upon checkout at www.tusting.co.uk.