The other day, I visited Westmorland Sheepskins, a sheepskin specialist and really lovely family business based in Alwoodley, Leeds.
They supply gorgeous, high quality clothing, accessories and interiors products made in sheepskin, other materials too, but mainly sheepskin, and they work with the best manufacturers in the UK and Europe to gather their wares and make them available to the public.
Father of the firm Howard and son Joe take Westmorland Sheepskins out to the markets of Yorkshire – Hawes on Tuesday, Kirkby Moorside and Barnard Castle on Wednesday, Reeth on Friday and Newcastle on Sunday – as well as to shows from Ayr to Plymouth. On the stalls, they sell mainly sheepskin slippers, rugs, gloves and women’s footwear (Josef Seibel is an example), plus leather handbags, purses and wallets, which come from their partner manufacturers in in Italy and Spain.
But I went to chat with other son, Tim Heaton, and his partner, Dominique, who run the online side of things, which includes lovely home furnishings such as chair cushions and stool covers alongside their sheepskin rugs, plus rare breed Baa stools, hand-made in North Wales.
Online the main business is slippers, typically costing £50-65, from Shepherd of Sweden. Headwear also, and children’s and babywear. They do these great nursing rugs, which can be washed at higher temperatures and are shorn more closely than regular fluffy sheepskins. They are heat-regulating and German research, says Tim, has suggested that babies are less likely to develop asthma by using them.
Westmorland Sheepskins also has shop at Harrogate Antiques Centre at Crimple Hall in Harrogate, where you can find their sheepskin rugs for £45 and baby sheepskin bootees for £10. I had a look and a feel the other day – wonderful quality and great prices.
Online they also sell outerwear, such as beautiful sheepskin coats, and they showed them off via a shoot, photographed by the brilliant Lisa Stonehouse and stylist Sally Pellen, using as locations The Star Inn at Harome, near Helmsley, a friend’s house at Moortown for the baby shots and Almscliffe Crag. The models are all friends and relatives of Tim and Dominique – and what a good looking bunch they are.
Anyway, go online to www.westmorlandsheepskins.co.uk to find out prices (which I promise are reasonable), or visit them at the markets, or go check out Crimple Hall, see www.crimplehall.co.uk for details. Visit The Star Inn at Harome on www.thestaratharome.co.uk