One of our most popular hits for Country Allure has been deciding to do and launching personalised branding for our customers! So this week, we are going to talk about all things branding.
You guys always have a stack of questions in regards to this, so we are going to outline some of the most commonly asked here for you all.
What type of branding do we do? What are the brands made from, and how do we heat them?
The service we offer is Hot Iron Branding.
This means that we use the heating method, and we actually do this manually with fire.
Aswell as our individual branding irons, we had our gas cylinder furnace custom made for us to heat our metal branding rods, which essentially looks like a blowtorch in a tube with little windows.
There are actually many types of hot iron brands, for example there are electrically heated branding irons, but we think the old school traditional way is more authentic!
Can you brand leather as well? What happens to cowhide when branded and how does it age?
In short, no, we dont brand leather, only our cowhide.
The branding process and outcome is slightly different from livestock branding, as the hide is not alive. So to achieve our branded look, we are singeing the hair from the cowhide, leaving a black shaped burn mark essentially. In livestock, it burns the hair, skin and hair follicles, stopping the regrowth of hair in that spot, in the brand's shape.
Although the process is different with hide branding and livestock branding, the lasting result is the same. It's permanent. The only variation between our brands ageing is that lighter coloured cowhide's brand can sometimes become a little lighter over time in comparison to our darker coloured cowhides. But it's never going to disappear on you, that's for sure!
Cowhide and actually all leathers, react to heat elements. Just like us. It's skin. With heat, it shrivels and dries out. (Note: This is also why hide rugs can curl up on their thin corners!) So when you press a red hot iron into it, it can scrunch itself up. Nine times out of ten though, the hide will settle flat again after cooling down. But this is why we have a maximum amount of letters and numbers you can have branded on each product, as that temporary shrinking and warping can cause uneven or crooked brands. And we don't want that.
How do we physically brand things and do we have a guarantee on our branding?
We do all our branding freehand. Yep, that's right. No rulers, no markings, no stencils, true blue winging it. Don't get us wrong though, there's a lot of thought process and planning behind every single brand, so it's definitely not a thoughtless action, but to stay authentic, freehand is the way. I mean, old stockman Pete didn't paint a marker on his cattle 100 years ago before branding it, did he? No. He just made sure he knew what he was doing, before he did it.
So naturally the next question would be, well what happens if we 'stuff up' or if it isn't perfect? Well that's a good one. This is why we have our branding information section and t&c's on our website. But I will go more into depth here.
As explained previously, branding is never going to be perfect. Some letters may be a millimetre or two off, meaning higher or lower. This is from the warping and shrinking. And the fact that we are doing it freehand. This only emphasises the fact that not only is every single cowhide different, but so is every brand. Just like a fingerprint. But that doesn't mean that we are going to put letters backwards and upside down and tell you to deal with it. You just need to have some faith in us if you want to get branding done.
Mistakes rarely happen, and like we've said above, there's a lot of prep and planning done prior to pressing that brand onto our products, so if there is a situation where we have made a proper booboo (which is actually very rare), we would happily resolve the situation without hesitation.
So who actually does the branding? What's the most popular item to be branded and what's CA's favourite product to brand?
Prominently our dispatch team handles the branding, as they not only are in the workspace already, but they can complete the branding as they are picking and packing each order. This means your product is the centre of attention and getting our full concentration when being branded.
Our most popular product to be branded would have to be our purses and cattle tag keychains. You guys can't get enough of them, and we love it! Increasing popularity though is our cowhide stubby coolers, they come in third in demand.
Our cattle tag keychains are our biggest and most popular currently. They are the perfect self treat or special personalised gift. They are just such a great way to personalise your key ring, Akubra or honestly, however you want to show it off. (Ooh send us photos of different ways you style your branded cattle tag keychain!)
Our personal favourite product to brand would have to be purses. Not only do they come up gorgeous, but they are a good size to handle/hold, have a pretty flat surface and have that nice edge line to work with. A lot easier than our stubby coolers let's just say!
So how do you pick a pattern and location on your cowhide product to get branded?
For the most effective and nice looking brand, you want to go for the lighter colour hide area's, avoid picking branding in blacks and dark brown spots as you won't really see it. Black brand on black hide equals 'where is it?'. But; that may be your thing! We have had customers that want the brand purely for themselves, not for show. And that's absolutely okay too, we just want to make sure you're happy with the result.
When you've chosen your hide pattern, you need to now pick whereabouts on your product do you want your brand. In the middle? Top left corner? Well generally where there's a seam or edge that we can line up with as a guide is the best way, eg bottom right corner (This is actually the most popular location) But ultimately, we can do it pretty much anywhere you want, within reason.
Now that we have answered your questions, we do want to give a few disclaimers. Because surely there may be a few people who are intrigued to give it a go themselves.
We want to protect our customers and viewers as all of your health and safety matter to us, so we must say that we do not recommend giving this a go at home yourself. ESPECIALLY if you are untrained.
Playing with metal that is that hot, that it is glowing red, has its risk factors. So does using heating elements such as furnaces. Hot things burn. It's dangerous to do!
All Country Allure staff who do branding in-store have undergone training to do these tasks in the safest manner, and are given the correct PPE to protect them when completing these tasks.
Please, be smart and be safe.
If you would like any more information in regards to our Hot Iron Branding service, or to view our T&C's, you can read about it on our website. We will attach a link down the bottom for reference.
Additionally, if there is something that we haven't covered and that you want to know about, feel free to connect with us on our socials and we will do our best to help you out.
Tune in next week for more behind the scenes; from us, here at Country Allure.
Signing out for now,
Jess Price ✨