Chicago, Ill.— Horween Leather Company President Arnold “Skip” Horween III believes that it takes trained eyes, skilled hands and a commitment to doing the right thing to be successful in the leather tanning business—qualities he shares with his predecessors, all Horweens and all committed to making the best leather in the world.
Horween Leather was founded in 1905 by Isadore Horween, great-grandfather of the current president. Four generations of Horweens have overseen the evolution of the tannery into its current status as one of the premiere tanners in this country and abroad. Skip Horween was named president of Horween Leather in 2002, but has worked and learned about every aspect of the business since he was a teenager growing up on the north side of Chicago.
Horween graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in economics and archeology and went on to get his Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University. While going to school, he remained involved in the family business and was named treasurer of the company beginning in 1985, becoming vice president of Horween Leather in 1995.
Like those before him, Skip Horween understands the importance of maintaining the company’s legacy of producing the best leather worldwide.
“Making the best means doing lots of little things right,” states Horween. “We’ve never mistaken fastest or cheapest with best, and we continue to use formulas that cut no corners using the highest quality components in all of our products.”
Horween Leather is the last supplier in North America of the cordovan leather that has made the tannery renowned both nationally and internationally, maintaining the strong sense of tradition by continuing to run this product with the formulas and procedures established by the founder when the company was started. In addition, Horween has provided all of the leather for Wilson’s Official NFL footballs since the 1950’s, having developed the trademarked Tanned in Tack® tanning process.
Each generation of Horween presidents learned the tanning business from the ground up and recognized that what Isadore Horween had built required not only a good business sense, but a commitment to quality and to hard work.
“Our actions are governed by preceding generations and each generation has set the bar very high,” Horween explains. “We’ve never learned how good is good enough and have always believed that a good reputation is hard to earn and easy to lose.”
As president, Horween’s official role is to oversee the continued growth of the company; however, Horween also plays an active role in the coordination of activities between sales, marketing and production, and provides all of his employees with the tools
and skills needed to do their best quality work. Horween recently finalized the acquisition of Dominion Tanners of Canada, which allows Horween Leather to expand into production of the Canadian company’s full line of shoe, boot and specialty leathers.
Horween lives in Barrington, Illinois with his wife Laura Kelly Horween and two children.