Nils Bergauer, Leather Glove Manufactory

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Nils Bergauer has a long family tradition of producing the finest custom-made leather gloves. An endangered craft that was once widespread in the Erzgebirge/Saxony but is no longer an apprenticeship. In his workshop, in Schneeberg, the young glove maker lives out his love for the craft. Fashion designer Jiri Spata has recently joined the company, giving a stronger focus on the design department.

Name of Craft in the local language
Nils Bergauer, Handschuhmacher
Type of Craft
Custom-made leather gloves
Knowledge Holder
Nils Bergauer (glove maker), Nasim Safi (glove maker who has been in training for four years), two trained glove seamstresses with many years of experience (working from home)
Location, Website
NILS BERGAUER, Fürstenplatz 6, 08289 Schneeberg // www.lederhandschuh-manufaktur.de Link to website
Contact
phone: +49 (0) 3772 3731168, +49 (0) 172 7493962, email: post@lederhandschuh-manufaktur.de
Type of Business
Family business
Year of Establishment
Family tradition since 1876, own workshop founded in 2012
Successors
No, but a succession within the family is desired.

Workshop and sales space
Open workshop: studio, workshop and salesroom in one (place), since 2016 (acquired in 2016, former fire station garage)
Materials
Glove leather must be elastic and at the same time dimensionally stable, i.e. "pliable". Suitable materials for glove production include for e.g. lamb leather, goat leather, deer leather, ostrich leg leather, chamois leather and peccary leather (South American wild boar species). Most of the lamb leather comes from English/Irish sheep and was sourced until September 2023 from the English manufacturer Pittards, as it was particularly flawless and free of harmful substances. All other types of leather are sourced from two tanneries in Germany and a Czech tannery. Nils Bergauer and his team are also looking for leather alternatives and other trustworthy tanneries. Various skins, seamless knitted linings for gloves made from cashmere and lightweight glove linings made from silk are also processed.
Technology / Tools / Machines
For the most part, old tools and machines from the family heritage are used. These include a large cutting table (a table where the leather is cut to size), scissors, presses for stamping the blank gloves, a calibre rack (“Kaliberregal”) with stamp tools from four different glove makers, special sewing machines, quilting machines, sewing utensils and special iron e.g glove iron.
Techniques / Processes
Assessing the leather for cutting (evaluating the hide), cutting the leather into glove-compatible pieces (“Debsieren”), removing and pinning the leather to a template (“Etaboinieren”), rough cutting with stamp tools („Kaliber“) and precise re-cutting, pressing out the blank glove („Ventieren“), Cutting off redundant pieces of leather (Alongieren), thumbs are worked on separately, cutting the leather strips for the spaces between the fingers („Schichteln/Schichten“), cutting bars, grate (veneering), sewing of the glove, pulling in the lining by sewing, hemming, grating the glove, finally the glove gets ironed and set („Dressieren“).
Members / Employees
Nils Bergauer, Jiri Spata (employed fashion designer), Nasim Safi (glove maker who has been in training for four years, came to the manufactory from Afghanistan as an apprentice), two experienced glove seamstresses who work from home (72 and 80 years old, they have been sewing gloves since they were 14 years old). Nils Bergauer's grandmother is also on hand to help and advise her grandson.
Apprentices
Glove making has not been an apprenticeship since 1994. Nevertheless, an employee is currently being trained and the team are still on the lookout for seamstresses.
Education of the Craftsperson
Nils Bergauer learned his trade from one of the last master glove makers in Johanngeorgenstadt (Frank Zahor), He has a master craftsman's degree. He also studied Pedagogy.

Best-selling product
Black classic custom-made glove
Average time of production
Approximately 5 pairs of gloves leave the workshop every day. From leather to dispatch, a pair of gloves in standard production takes around 3-3 ½ hours. A hand-sewn glove takes considerably longer and involves four hours of pure sewing work.
Average price per item
From 120€, prices open to the top, a hand-sewn glove made of peccary leather can cost 500€.

In the evenings, Nils Bergauer can be found next door in his own restaurant, where he swaps the solitude of workshop work for the hustle and bustle of an innkeeper.