I love sheepskins and hides, they look so nice around the home, and feel great under your feet on a winter morning as you get out of bed.
Unfortunately, they’re expensive, for a number of reasons. Here are the reasons.
1, Tanning is expensive, whether I do it myself, or purchase from a tannery. There are a lot of steps, labour, and time involved. All the imported skins that I have on my site come from little tanneries, which are the only ones that will handle these rare breeds and colours. Big tanneries that can cut costs due to huge numbers and big machinery only want to buy in white and common skins for bulk sales.
2, Shipping is very expensive. Imported sheep cost around $60 each to ship from the countries I buy from, even China. I’d love to offer my sheep and other skins for less, but shipping is something I can’t control. Even small skins are costly to import.
3, Rare skins cost a lot. They come from small farms, and because they are tanned in small numbers there is no bulk pricing. These breeds are not found in Australia, but I like to offer them because they have qualities that are not found in modern breeds of animals. The rarer the animal (even if it isn’t endangered), including farm animals, the higher the cost.
Many of the sheepskins I import come in colours and wool styles that aren’t available in Australia because the genes were lost as farmers, wool buyers, and tanneries only want white skins.
4, They have a limited market in Australia. I still have to make a living so I have to make a little more profit due to the slow sales of these kinds of skins. White or dyed sheepskins are cheaper and available everywhere, but still cost over $100. Even Australian sourced and tanned cattle and goat hides from professional tanneries cost as much as imported ones.
Basically, if you want something different and exotic for your home there is an extra cost. Fortunately, many people love the special traits that these exotic skins bring.