Embracing Tradition and Innovation: Mossop Leather's Journey as an African Tannery

by Team MDS on Apr 09, 2024

Embracing Tradition and Innovation: Mossop Leather's Journey as an African Tannery

We had the privilege of sitting down with Gert Kruger, the CEO of Mossop Leather, to gain insights into his journey, Mossop Leather's operations, and the current market landscape. Gert, a proud Karoo man, discovered his passion for leather at an early age, particularly in sheepskin tanning, an art deeply rooted in the sheep farming heritage of the South African Karoo region. His journey in the leather industry began with formal education at the ICLT Institutes for Creative Leather Technologies. Afterward, he honed his craft as a technologist at a prominent British tannery Pittards. His expertise and dedication did not go unnoticed, and he was invited back to South Africa by Mossop Leather, where he started as a technical manager and eventually rose to the position of technical director. Gert’s commitment to continuous learning and improvement led him to pursue an MBA, focusing his studies on the local South African leather industry, with Mossop Leather serving as a primary case study. This dedication and strategic vision paved the way for Gert to assume the role of managing director in 2005, taking the helm of the oldest tannery in the southern hemisphere. Under Gert's leadership, Mossop Leather has transformed into a modern, world-class producer, specializing in civilian and industrial footwear leathers, as well as engaging in joint ventures for upholstery material production. The tannery's facility in Wellington, Western Cape, has become a beacon of excellence, thanks to Gert's keen eye for detail and strategic decision-making. Today, Mossop Leather boasts international shareholders and a robust production capacity of 15 million feet annually, positioning itself as a major player in both local and international markets. The company's commitment to innovation and technological advancements, coupled with its strategic integration into the international vertical supply chain, ensures its continued growth and success.

Mossop Leather's achievements have been recognized with various accreditations, including a prestigious silver rating from the Leather Working Group in 2022. These accolades not only validate the tannery's commitment to excellence but also open up new markets and growth opportunities for the company.

In conclusion, Gert Kruger's journey from a young enthusiast in the Karoo to the CEO of Mossop Leather is a testament to his passion, dedication, and strategic leadership. Under his guidance, Mossop Leather has not only survived but thrived, solidifying its position as a leader in the global leather industry. In this Q&A we hope to get the insight of Mossop Leathers continued legacy from the source itself. 

Q: Who is Gert Kruger and what is his role at Mossop Leather? What sparked his interest in the leather industry?

A: Gert Kruger, a South African tanner, and a dedicated family man, leads the helm at Mossop Leather as its Managing Director. His roots in the leather industry trace back to his father's era, operating a vegetable tannin tannery during the 1980s and 1990s. Gert's childhood experiences ignited a passion for the craft, propelling him into a distinguished career in the leather trade.

Q: How has the African tannery industry evolved, and what challenges and opportunities lie ahead for Mossop Leather?

A: The African tannery industry has undergone significant evolution, with raw materials from the continent finding global acclaim. African leather, including South African hides, is prized for its quality, closely resembling European material due to the European origins of many cattle breeds in the region. Mossop Leather sees a bright future, especially with Africa's youthful population presenting a growing market.

Q: How does Mossop Leather approach sustainability, considering environmental, social, and economic factors?

A: Mossop Leather takes a holistic approach to sustainability through its Leatherprint initiatives. With a focus on societal impact, Mossop aims to uplift disadvantaged communities in South Africa. Environmentally, the company has implemented initiatives such as a solar PV plant and rainwater harvesting, reducing its ecological footprint.

Q: How does Mossop Leather approach international partnerships and collaborations to expand its market presence?

A: Mossop Leather has expanded its international customer base over the past decade, offering value to global brands and diversifying away from traditional supply bases. The company seeks partnerships with a shared commitment to sustainability, aiming to broaden its global presence

Q: In one word, how would you describe Mossop Leather?

A: Resilience