Mastering the art of leather craftsmanship, the Braun Buffel way


  • Style
  • Wednesday, 11 May 2016

While it is said that “a craftsman is only as good as his tools”, through the combination of his unbridled passion, discipline, dedication and loyalty to premium leather brand Braun Buffel, Manfred Goll is a master in his trade.

Goll knew from an early age that he wanted to be a craftsman with the brand and having started his apprenticeship there in 1975, he even returned in 1981 after two years of military service.

Now, four decades later, he is currently the head of the production team of Braun Buffel in Kirn, Germany and supervises the entire production process.

His job involves taking on the responsibility related to quality assurance and ensuring the products that leave the production facility meet the exacting standards of the brand.

He also personally oversees all material orders, starting from leather to metal parts. To keep updated on trends and new materials, he also regularly visits international leather fairs to source for new surface and colour trends for the upcoming collections.

Goll toting a leather messenger bag at the Braun Buffel boutique.
Goll demonstrating how to make a passport holder at the leather atelier event.

With his vast experience and heavy involvement in most aspects of the company, Goll is known to be much more than “just” a production manager but is truly the heart of the whole production team.

In an effort to bridge the gap between the brand and its customers, he was in Kuala Lumpur recently for a brand appreciation event where he demonstrated first hand the processes involved in producing leather products to select members of the media and brand loyalists.

A journey to be documented, the 56-year-old shared that it was the fact that the company ensures such high quality of leather production – a standard they have sustained throughout – that drew him in.

It should come as no surprise that Braun Buffel has been using the same leather tanneries for the last 50 years and Goll continues to ensure that the heritage and legacy of the brands standards are met and kept.

Tanger backpack.
Tanger backpack.

“In order to maintain the brand at the top, it all begins with the kind of leather and its use,” said Goll adding, “That is also the toughest part of this job as the correct combination of leathers are key. Every leather has a different kind of character from cow hide to buffalo and sheep to pig skin. It’s not easy to assemble together too.”

This was evident during the leather atelier event as he taught the most basic and simple process involved in making small leather products.

Participants got to create their very own passport holder or smart phone case while experiencing the intricacies behind the creation of every Braun Buffel leather product.

Heightening the excitement of the whole process was an embossing session as each participant got to etch their initials on the product to carry the mark of their workmanship.

From the first drawings and first samples to quotations and the final production process, Braun Buffel is a brand with soul and passion, and more than just leather bags and accessories, it is also steeped in heritage and legacy.

The Ophelia-B tote from the Spring/Summer 2016 collection.
The Ophelia-B tote from the Spring/Summer 2016 collection.

“The Braun Buffel brand stands strong and resilient amidst competition because the people behind the scene such as us craftsmen share similar passion and philosophies as the founder Johann Braun. We also remain one of the few leather making companies that still produce our very own apprentices as it is with the aim that the tradition of Braun Buffel’s leather crafting can be continued and inherited.”

His experience with moulding young minds was apparent during the leather atelier event with the “Nurturing the Young” programme.

The programme saw 18 school children from Beaconhouse Malaysia given the opportunity to experience the art of leather making.

Guided by Goll and chaperones, the children were transformed into little craftsmen and settled into the business of turning sheets of leather into mini buffalo figurines meant to signify the brand’s power, strength and its ties to leather.

“I love the brand. It is all about quality, design and innovation. And while I can only say that we try our level best to achieve the highest quality, it is most important to me that its legacy and technique continues.”

The Oasis document holder from the Spring Summer 2016 collection.
Fes saddlebags.

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