From Land to Luxury

Introducing our Land to Luxury film, taking you on a journey from the backcountry in Hawea to the glittering lights of Hong Kong and back to our design studio and Yu Mei flagship in Wellington. With integrity and transparency at our core, we are excited to share the Yu Mei story, detailing our people, our design process and our supply chain with you, our community.

The Yu Mei story begins at the farm. We use premium South Island Red Deer nappa that is farmed under the NZ Deer Association Five Freedoms. This means farmed deer are adequately fed and cared for; free to express their normal behaviour; protected against pain, injury, discomfort and disease; and free from fear or distress. The deer skins we use are a byproduct of the New Zealand venison industry, so we are proud to be utilising a material that would otherwise be wasted. Leather is one of the most renewable products and according to the USDA there is no synthetic substitute comparable to it in terms of its renewability. Renewable resources are substances that can be replaced or replenished in the same or less amount of time than it takes to draw the supply down.

Deer skins are then transferred to the world-class tanneries we work for pickling and colouring. Our tanneries are skilled in crafting the most buttery soft leathers, and work with some of the world’s best luxury brands. Leather as a craft is based on tradition and history, but there is still room for innovation and new technology. The tanneries we work with are so are open to collaborating and innovating. We believe responsibility is our duty, which is why we demand traceability records of animals, farmers and tannery processes from all hands involved in our supply chain. To us, responsibility simply means doing the right thing and striving for continuous improvement. Having this collaborative dialogue with our tanneries means we are able to improve processes and do better for people and the planet.

From the South Island of New Zealand, we take you to the bustling cities of Hong Kong and Dongguan, where we have partnered with a manufacturer that upholds the highest level of craftsmanship and social responsibility, aligning with Yu Mei’s values. Matching the manufacturing quality to that of our world-class deer nappa was the obvious next step for Yu Mei to ensure the quality, longevity and sustainability of our products. The family-run business has been in operation for 50 years, and we are so grateful to be working with generations of skilled Chinese artisans who are masters in their craft. Working with this team has opened up vast and exciting new space of design within which we can work and they have become an extension of the Yu Mei family.

Back in New Zealand, the Wellington Yu Mei team works from our studio to create concepts and designs for our collections. A lot of time is spent toiling and refining our designs so that they are fit for purpose, while reducing materials waste.

Downstairs, you will find our Wellington Flagship. Rather than replicating the traditional retail concept, we wanted to create a place where you can come and chat to us and have a drink, so the store follows the concept of a lounge. Incorporating collaborations with local artists and craftsmen, the Yu Mei Lounge is a reflection of the city we live in. It is our hope that everyone in the Yu Mei community feels comfortable and inspired in our beautiful space.

We hope you enjoy the look into all that is involved in each Yu Mei piece, from land to luxury.

Special thanks to James Watt from In Motion for creating our video, and to Lake Hawea Station for having us.