The French company Raynaud Jeune was founded by Elisée Raynaud in 1928 in Mazamet, a municipality in the Tarn department of southern France. During the 18th and 19th century it was central to the global wool industry. At its height, the town imported more than 100,000 tonnes of wool annually from the Southern Hemisphere. After processing, numerous establishments were involved in wool-spinning and into the manufacture of leather goods and gloves. While the vast majority of Mazamet's wool industry subsided in the early 1990s, the town is still home to a selective high-end leather industry including Raynaud Jeune, a third generation, family run tannery specialized in vegetable tanning.
With a workforce of 40 highly skilled employees and 3 to 4,000 skins processed per day, it is considered a middle size enterprise according to French standards. It was originally focused on the production of vegetable tanned lambskin leather for insoles and lining. However, thanks to their specialization in the combination of vegetable extracts and new technologies, the company can produce very soft leathers in a large variety of colours, touches and aspects. “Our versatility has enabled us to diversify in the production of leather goods, uppers, shoes and garments,” explains Olivier Raynaud, who joined the company in 1988 and has run it ever since. The company’s production of vegetable tanned lamb skins known as “basane” in particular fits various purposes from upholstery to leather goods, shoe or bag linings, decoration and orthopedics.
Raynaud Jeune is also a major supplier of the vegetable tanned “Fauve” leather for the production of insoles and lining for bags, belts and shoes. “The traditional way of tanning is getting back in fashion and is leading Raynaud Jeune to new horizons,” says Raynaud. Simultaneously, the company is following the sustainability trend by developing an environment preservation and sustainability strategy.
“Tanners play an essential role in recycling and enhancing a sub product from the meat industry that would otherwise have to be dumped or destroyed,” reminds Raynaud. “Furthermore, from this product, we achieve a finished article that is today very much in fashion and in demand. Our role is to produce it in a cleaner, more responsible and natural way.” Hence the numerous green investments the company has made at different levels of production.
Back in 2013, the company implemented a biological water treatment plant that enables a depollution rate of 98 per cent of water discharge. Furthermore, since they are free of heavy metals, 95 % of the wastes produced by the tannery are recycled and valorized in fertilizers, compost or recycled leather.
The fuel used for heating water or drying the skins is no longer of fossil origin. It has been replaced by a bio-fuel from a residue of the pine tree industry, itself a valorized sub-product, which also contributes to the reduction of the company’s ecological footprint.
“All the products and chemicals we use comply with the current regulations such as Reach, ZDHC/MRSL or the European Biocides Regulation,” indicates Raynaud. The company has also initiated an important program to attain the Leather Working Group (LWG) certification, some of the toughest to date. “We hope to be certified by the end of 2020,” Raynaud adds.
In October 2019 Raynaud Jeune joined LEATHER NATURALLY to further support and promote natural and sustainable Leather.