“We have made ourselves invaluable to NYC designers and manufacturers.”Paul CrystalFounder & CEO
“I wanted to build a career in the leather industry.”
Paul Crystal started his career in the leather industry forty years ago, and has been working in the Garment District ever since. He got his first job in the 80s through a friend who owned a leather business, and learned very early on everything about leather sourcing, leather embossing and debossing, leather cutting and clicking etc. Two years later, when his friend’s company went out of business, it is this in-depth knowledge that encouraged him to start Global Leathers with a new partner.
Global Leathers has grown dramatically since its inception. Today, the business operates a storefront in the Garment District, where most of its wholesale business is conducted, as well as a warehouse in New Jersey, where it keeps its leather stocks. After Paul’s partner passed away, his son Jordan who had initially wanted to become a doctor, opted for a career shift and joined his father. He is currently part of Global Leather’s leadership team, and has helped build and significantly expand the business. He also started his own e-commerce business called Leather Skins, which sells leather directly to consumers via online channels.
“We have made ourselves invaluable to NYC designers and manufacturers.”
Through their business, Paul and Jordan have established themselves as the trusted owners of a one-stop-shop for all leather inquiries. The business aims to supply the highest quality leather products to designers, craftsmen, manufacturers, and architects from across the country. All products are sourced from the finest tanned leathers, suedes and nubucks from around the world. The business has also expanded its product lines to offer all types of animal skins, and keeps a large supply in stock. In recent years, Global Leathers has adopted a more sustainable approach and is looking to offer more durable leathers. In addition, the business also has the capability of manufacturing products such as rugs, throws, and pillows, using various types of leathers. All fabricated leather products are custom-made, allowing the team to accommodate individual design specifications.
“We’re a survivor in the industry.”
Over the last four decades, Global Leathers’ growth-oriented mindset has allowed it to become a big name in the leather industry. Of course, the landscape has drastically evolved since the 1980s. According to Paul, the Garment District was way more chaotic and lively back then, with garment manufacturers transporting products from place to place; in recent years, many have left the district or moved production overseas. To adapt to this changing landscape, Global Leathers opened a storefront to cater to smaller emerging designers. With COVID, business has not gotten easier and Global Leathers’ storefront had to remain closed for four months. Paul and his team adapted once again, and grew their business through e-commerce and digital channels. While sales have improved in recent months, business remains uncertain; Global Leathers works with both high-end designers and well-recognized Broadway and theater companies, and those industries remain severely impacted by the pandemic. Paul considers the business a survivor in the industry, and hopes to keep adapting to what the future holds. Their team has stayed with Paul and Jordan despite the recent challenges, and both co-owners attribute Global Leathers’ success in large part to their employees’ loyalty and hard work.
“There will be a lot more vegan and sustainable leathers in the future.”
In the years to come, Global Leathers is considering manufacturing its own leather, thereby operating as both a leather manufacturer and supplier. Paul also aims to maintain his storefront in the Garment District and expand into new markets. Moreover, Jordan’s decision to start Leather Skins was critical during the pandemic, and will allow the business to leverage digital channels to target larger audiences and increase brand awareness.
Looking to the future, Paul and Jordan believe sustainability and vegan leathers will be crucial to expanding their business. The next generation of leather sourcing and manufacturing will be centered around these two principles, and Global Leathers will continue to adapt as always.