Designer turns to Norwegian salmon skin to produce chic leather bags

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Norwegian designer Elisabeth Benonisen is casting her business into the salmon skin fashion sector with a range of chic wallets and handbags.  

The entrepreneur from Bodø  – who launched Studio Ebn in 2013 – has spent the last nine months turning her ideas into high-end products and has established supply chains with several Norwegian salmon producers.

“Salmon skin is very decorative and exotic, and using Norwegian salmon adds to the quality of the finished leather. I certainly believe there is a good market, ”  Benonisen told Avisa Nordland.

Salmon skin is a bi-product of the fishing industry, so the leather is created by utilising raw material that would otherwise be discarded. Producing salmon leather is more expensive as it is a smaller product to produce, yet the strength and durability surpass that of a regular hide because of the cross fibre structure.

Each bag can have a different finish depending on the colour, style and treatment of the leather.  The texture can vary from a rough ‘open scale’ finish to a smoother, more refined ‘closed scale’ finish.

Benonisen ’s selection of wallets, hand and shoulder bags are sold through her store in Bodø and a few other retail outlets and via the net. Priced at US$240, Benonisen said her ambition is to go global and make an impact in key markets, including like the United States, France and Italy.

“I firmly believe the products have the potential to become a major export product. I am already selling a good deal in South Korea. Just how big we can get only time will tell, she said.