Eastern Pyrenees. All Sport Vintage stands out with its fish skin balls

From basketballs to boxing gloves, including cases for petanque balls, crampons or golf bags, All Sport Vintage has taken over all the fields. This Catalan brand, which produces and sells customizable leather sports equipment, was born in 2015 from an idea of ​​Didier Cazeilles, its founder. “I had a ball in my office from my grandfather who for twenty years all my clients wanted to buy from me. This led me to create my own brand of customizable sports accessories,” says this sports enthusiast who first made his career in security. In its market niche, All Sport Vintage has found its clientele consisting of individuals, companies and sports clubs. But it was eventually after the health crisis that it became known as the world’s leading manufacturer of fish skin balls.

“During the pandemic, we had to deal with supply problems for the cowhide leather we import from India. We then looked for diversification. Since our range already covers a dozen disciplines, we decided to work on the materials. When I discovered that fish skins were used to make furniture and clothing in Lapland, I decided to take the plunge. We worked and experimented for a year and a half and finally succeeded in obtaining genuine leather from trout, tuna and salmon skins, of a quality identical to cowhide. Only the touch is different. †

Almost 20% of the turnover

To set up his own industry, Didier Cazeilles approached Labeyrie’s factories in Arcachon, who supply him with the raw material originally intended to be thrown away. The raw hides are recovered in his workshop in Gironde, stripped of their scales and the flesh on the underside before being cleaned in large washing machines, dried, tinted with vegetable dyes and then tanned. The assembly of balloons and toiletry bags, which the brand also proposes, takes place in the Pyrénées-Orientales, in its new premises in Le Boulou.

“We value the hides that had to go in the trash to make exceptional products, unique pieces because all hides are different. This range allows us to produce as locally as possible, in a short circuit and to reduce our carbon footprint”, underlines Didier Cazeilles, who has invested around 140,000 euros in these new products.

If the raw material is easy to obtain, the transformation is more laborious and expensive, about twice as much as the same item in cowhide. But since its launch in October 2021, the range of fish skins is no longer talked about. Two of his models were presented to Jean Castex and Emmanuel Macron, rugby version for the former prime minister and football for the president of the republic.

It represents, after only a few months of marketing, 18% of the turnover of All Sport Vintage, which has also seen its fame grow internationally. The manufacturer, which employs 14 people for a turnover of 1.8 million euros in 2021, currently produces between 800 and 1,000 pieces of fish skin per month. The medium term objective is to find local supply solutions to “repatriate the tannery activity to the Pyrénées-Orientales”. But also to lower prices to make the range more accessible.

Johanna Decorse

Pictured: Launched in Fall 2021, the line of fishskin accessories brought the All Sport Vintage brand internationally. Credit: All Sports Vintage.