L'Allan, a bucolic leather workshop DE | Hermès

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L'Allan, a bucolic leather workshop

Franche-Comté is a region renowned for fine workmanship, or bienfacture as its Swiss neighbours would say, in both the automotive and leather industries. Hermès has chosen it as the location for three of its leather workshops. After Seloncourt (opened in 1996) and Héricourt (2016), the Manufacture de l'Allan in Allenjoie (Department of Doubs), expands this regional hub that now employs 560 artisans. Their number will rise to 780 within three years. 
The atmosphere is studious in the light-filled workshops of the new Maroquinerie de L’Allan, Hermès’ third leather workshop in Franche-Comté and its sixteenth in France, where 40 or so artisans are applying themselves to crafting the Kelly bag.
 
After their initial training at the École Boudard or the Lycée Les Huisselets, two of Hermès’ regional partners renowned for their excellence in leather-working professions, they will spend six months in this building, clad in pale wood and set in middle of the countryside, to perfect their knowledge of the model. This is the key to their future as leatherworkers for Hermès.
 
For those who can craft this emblematic bag can craft anything: the Kelly is a veritable treasury of the house’s know-how in the métier, starting with its handle, a direct descendant of the equestrian harness designed by Thierry Hermès, the house’s founder.
 
This group's mentors have travelled only a handful of kilometres from their own site, the Maroquinerie de Seloncourt. Chosen for their experience in the profession, they are now training the new recruits. This “offshoot” model for skills sharing is also to be found in Hermès’ other regional hubs, in the Ile-de-France-Normandie, south-west and Rhône-Alpes regions.
 
“I am training eight people. In addition to technical skills, it is also important to pass on the culture of maintaining harmonious relations, patience, and the ability to adapt and make decisions... Good sense and the senses go hand-in-hand.”
Angèle Roy,
leatherworker and trainer at the Maroquinerie de l’Allan  


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    In late 2008, an artisan from the leather workshop in Sayat laid down his tools in Puy-de-Dôme to spend a week behind a counter with a sales associate at the faubourg Saint-Honoré store in Paris. It was the start of the Tandem exchanges.
     
  • The golden filets of porcelain

    Of all the arts involved in glazing ceramics, that of painting a band, or filet, onto a piece of porcelain is one of the most intricate. In the Hermès workshops in Nontron, the artisans must juggle between bowls, large vases, plates, dishes and tureens. Eight gold-filet workers maintain this know-how, decorating the pieces by hand using a liner brush saturated with gold, platinum or colour.
     
  • Dexterity,
    the trade secret of talent

    Agile fingers dance with tools for cutting and table work in the leather workshops. Hermès welcomes diversity in backgrounds and ages. Here, dexterity, tested with the French Pôle emploi (Job Centre) prevails over initial training. This, along with respect for time, is the main secret of crafting objects.
     
  • Bodies fit for work

    Fifteen to twenty hours of work for a bag, twenty-five for a saddle: the gestures required to manufacture them are constraining. A number of simple habits help artisans keep mind and body fit for work.
     

Our imprint on...

  • Hermès employs 13,500 men and women, including 4,500 craftspeople, who form the first métier of the house. This land of hand changes and hires nonstop. To train, pass on, develop, ensure well-being, health and solidarity… Our ambition is to stimulate the personal growth of everyone involved. 
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  • Hermès endeavors to exalt, in twenty or so métiers, the most beautiful materials offered by nature. Our artisans’ skillful hands respect leather, silk, fabric, wood, crystal and precious metals. To preserve, optimize, revalue and draw… Our duty is to achieve the sustainable use of these resources.
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  • Hermès owns 41 of its 52 manufactures in France and more than 300 stores around the world. Our proximity with suppliers, partners and territories is cultivated in the field. To fertilize, mesh, renovate and be committed… Our role, as an environment-friendly company, is to build sustainable ties.
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