About Us

Buckskin Leather Company is proudly entering its fourth decade of specialty service as a four-generation family business, operating from its leather supply warehouse in Calgary, Alberta and leather sales outlet in Nanaimo BC Canada, along with the newly reopening of their Edmonton, Alberta leather sales outlet.

Team Buckskin Leather Co

Managing director and owner Michael Schluessel and his daughter Nikole and wife Janet, along with staff Erick, Lora, Olivia, Shannon, and Richard operate their leather hide sales and warehouse distribution businesses, which were founded in 1986.

The tannery distribution business, which is a subsidiary of Hide Depot International Inc., was founded as a leather supply operation by Michael and his father, Wolfgang. Today, they offer retail and wholesale leather distribution.

The tannery business runs deep in the Schluessel family. It was Michael’s grandfather, Kurt, operated a sheepskin tannery along with his son Wolfgang in Berlin Germany. With training as a tannery chemist in hand, Wolfgang headed for Canada and new opportunities.

The young chemist hopped a freighter to Halifax, then a train to Winnipeg and Regina in the dead of winter. He had no money and couldn’t speak any English. He thought he had a job at a tannery in Saskatchewan, but when he arrived, it turned out they hadn’t yet built the tannery.

Undaunted, he was determined to see a working Canadian tannery in action, so he travelled to Dominion Tanners in Winnipeg. Thrilled to have a tannery chemist on the premises, they hired him on the spot. Wolfgang then sent for his young family, which included an infant Michael, who was born in Berlin.

At the time, numerous of tanneries dotted the Canadian countryside. But soon the harmful environmental impact of the harsh chemicals used in the tanning process was too great to ignore. Unable to deal with the problem and still make money, tanneries started closing down.

“I grew up around it,” Michael recalls. “My dad would bring leather home and the scraps were kind of my toys.”

This industry shift continued until the 1980s when Michael was eager to get into the family business. His father insisted the young man get an education and work in a different industry for at least 10 years before the two could go into business together.

So Michael went to business college, with his heart set on being a leather distributor while his dad was still working at the tannery.

Instead, he worked for eight years in Personnel at Caterpillar in Edmonton and it was during that time that his dad retired and went back to Europe. Undaunted, Michael convinced him to return to Canada and start the distribution business in 1986 with warehouses in Calgary and Edmonton.

They were partners for 18 years until Wolfgang retired for the second time.

He hasn’t had a partner since but now works in the family business with his two daughters. Nikole, the youngest, has decided to get involved full time and Michaela, the eldest, has been with the firm since 2015 in Sales after completing a co-op term in business at Vancouver Island University.

Kurt, Michael’s youngest child, is studying at Vancouver Island University Sciences.

The business today serves everyone from leather crafters to industrial producers with a goal of providing easy access to raw leather materials direct from the tannery. Buckskin Leather Company is committed to exceptional personal service, premium leather supply and stock that is always available at competitive prices.

They do this through a thorough understanding of today’s global markets.

“We source the best leather from the most environmentally friendly tanneries,” Michael says. “We get inventory we believe in. We know what the customers want and we have 100 per cent control over what we stock and offer.”

Buckskin Leather ships throughout Canada and the U.S. with an inventory that includes the largest selection of tanned leathers in Western Canada. They have supply from tanneries around the world and stock comprehensive lines for leather-related applications, such as upholstery leather, saddle, garment, game hide, and shoe leather.

They carry many standard lines of leather hide supply, but also offer in-store specials that aren’t advertised. There are also job lots of clearance stock at discounted prices. You can check with your nearest outlet or refer to the leather clearance specials section on the Buckskin Leather website.

The quality and inventory are what make Buckskin Leather Company special. They have the finest Italian upholstery leather, but also make sure they have the amounts, colours and quality their customers need. They track purchases and dye lots to ensure matches and will cut hides in half to help with shortages.

“No one does that,” Michael says. “We work with the customers to make it work.”

They carry everything you could need: upholstery leather, garment leather, shoe leather, veg tanned leathers as well as sheepskin and cowhide hair-on hides.

To fully appreciate everything Buckskin Leather Company offers, you need to visit the warehouse, which is open to the public. Or, check them out online, where you will also find a virtual tour.

In fact, Michael is seeing an increase in hobbyists and leather fabric do-it-yourselfers walking through the doors and that’s helping to get the word out about this Calgary gem.

“Every day, people walk in and go, ‘Wow, I never knew you were here.’” Michael says. “We’re the best-kept secret in town. They have no idea this kind of supply exists.

“There are places in Europe you can’t even get it.”

Along with the hobbyists and start up crafters, the Professionals Tradesman continue to be the backbone of the tannery distribution business.

“It’s their raw material for them to make a living,” Michael says. “It’s important to me personally that I am filling that need.”

Michael is proud that the business he founded with his father has survived for over 30 years. Many have not, falling by the wayside under the crushing pressure of overhead created by inventory demands.

Finding a way to balance the books while serving the professionals who count on him has been the key to the success of Buckskin Leather Company. That, and the leather.

“If it’s good material, you’ll have the business forever. Our marketplace caters to people who appreciate that.