Concerned passersby sometimes comment that the sheepskin rugs on Just Our Stall would look better on the sheep, but they fail to realise everything they are looking at is a by-product.
Liza Elliott, who owns the stall with Tim Farnsworth, stressed: “We don’t sell anything killed for fur – it’s all by-products of the food industry.”
That, naturally, also applies to the cow hides they sell but they also point out that the reindeer rugs are from herds that take the place of cattle in Arctic Finland, while wildebeast, springbok and impala are eaten in their South Africa.
Liza points to a Jacob sheep fleece and points out that they may be selling them from Justin Hammond’s Culford Flock, whose meat he sells round the corner from their stall on Bury St Edmunds market.
The stall has been on the market for about 18 months, selling a mix of leather products and baskets.
Tim explained: “We live in the same village as the tannery, Sawston south of Cambridge, though we also have other suppliers.
Most of the sheepskins are from eastern counties flocks, but, as well as the South African antelopes, they have angora goat skins from Mongolia and different types of sheep skins from there and Tibet.
The fleeces’ softness varies according to the sheep breed and the reindeer fur is dense and soft, with a downy layer under the long weather hairs. But the surprise is that the cow hides are soft and smooth to the touch, not bristly as you might expect. Another surprise is that they are washable.
Liza said: “We sell a special shampoo. The sheepskins can be machine washed, on a wool setting, and the cow hides you can wash flat on the floor.”
The sheepskins are their top sellers, though as the it gets colder, gloves and hats are becoming more popular, along with sheepskin earmuffs.
As well as the items they keep in stock, they can supply anything from the tannery’s catalogue, which ranges from full-length coats to slippers.
Their other line is Rattan baskets of all shapes and sizes. They come from several suppliers, but many are from a Norfolk supplier who designs his own and has them made by family firms in the Far East.
Liza said: “We do all sorts – we have shoppers, all sorts of trays, umbrella stands, bottle carriers and a lot of storage baskets, which are all strong enough for logs, though can be used for other uses.”
They are in Bury market near Crosdales on Wednesday and Starbucks on Saturdays and have a website at http://www.justourstall.com|www.justourstall.com|Click for website}