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  • Lisa Martus

THE ART OF LEATHER

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

Janet Blackburn has a long history in the Magoebaskloof area and her grandchildren, residing on ‘The Mountain’, are proudly sixth-generation locals. She feels that her family bonds and rich history have contributed to ‘an intuition developed by the ebb and flow of the greater mountain rhythm and pulse that comes naturally with our genealogy.’ Blackburn Leather came into being in 2017 when Janet’s husband Colin decided that the time had come to turn his leather hobby into a proper business. Janet explains, ‘Colin had been manufacturing leather articles since his early 20’s as a way to generate income. As a British subject he could not gain access to employment in South Africa, despite having schooled through to tertiary level here so he landed up farming in Limpopo and supplementing his income with his leather craft.’


Janet feels that the secret to their success is their diverse and unique product sold direct to the public with a consistent priority on great quality and excellent service. She explains that ‘we started with 2 people and a virtually impossible dream in 10sqm. We survived Covid and our various challenges to now be housed in 50sqm with a family of 13 employees, five years later. Their most popular items are their belts and which are their most economically-priced item with a large and diverse range. They cater to men, women and children with sizes from 14 to 56 and even have a range for pets too. Janet says, ‘our area is a popular wedding destination so we regularly sell sets of 6-8 matching belts during the wedding season as grooms and their parties often forget this particular item at home on the Big Day and send a flustered and red-faced envoy to procure the necessary goods.’


Janet would like to see the tourism and hospitality industry on the mountain be able to rival the best that South Africa has to offer. She dreams of prosperity for herself and her team as well as the Magoebaskloof area and would like ‘the business to live and prosper well beyond ourselves.’


Blackburn Leather is to be found on the main street in Haenertsburg next to the Red Plate (18 Rissik Street). Call 079 096 5303 or check out www.blackburnleather.co.za


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