1980 - 1984

United Leather was founded in 1984, but the journey began long before its doors opened.

Shawn Dadbin, Co-founder & CEO of the company was introduced to the world of leather at only 17 years old.

He began working with leather scraps in Los Angeles to create garments and accessories. In an effort to make leather more prominent in the fashion industry, he founded his first company, Shalmay - a luxury evening wear brand primarily focused on leather & suede gowns for women.

Shalmay was featured in stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, and dressed A list actresses and supermodels, propelling the niche concept of leather in fashion.

1984 - 2000

Shawn eventually sold Shalmay and, along with his current business partner David Kobaei, they began importing high-quality cowhides and lambskins from Italy and Spain to sell in the U.S. This marked the start of United Leather.

United Leather was founded in a 1,000 sq ft office on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. The company began catering to small businesses who were in need of leather hides for apparel, accessories and footwear productions. By the early 90’s, United Leather had broadened its reach, now catering to larger global brands. To foster closer collaboration with these major brands, especially those manufacturing in Asia, United Leather established an office in Dongguan, China.

2000 - 2008

In the early 2000’s, United Leather grew through setting up operations in Montevideo, Uruguay to produce its own wet blue, allowing for the production of hides to be based on its own unique instructions.

Controlling hide production allowed United Leather to set its own prices and timelines, granting the company a competitive edge in the market. This advantage facilitated an expansion into new markets, particularly within the upholstery and interior design sectors.

2008 - 2015

As the company continued to grow, so did its Headquarters. The United Leather team constructed the current United Leather HQ in DTLA from the ground up, with a meticulous focus on creating a space that would be inviting and inspiring to creators and brands. 

The current HQ opened its doors in April 2008 with a wide range of stocked leather articles and colors, serving an even larger market of businesses in need of quality leather hides.

As this growth propelled, United Leather began selling globally, to countries like Mexico, Canada, China and more.

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2015 to Present

In 2015, United Leather expanded into the East Coast, opening up its first office in Manhattan, New York. This marked a substantial domestic expansion and an ability to service top clients in the apparel, accessories and interior industries across the east coast.

Future of United Leather

Today, United Leather is beginning a new chapter filled with fresh creativity, brands, ideas, and technology. In early 2024, United Leather will be launching United Leather Mexico, the first permanent global office, to serve the growing leather industry in Central America.

Our story is steeped in history, culture, and deep passion. We’re excited to continue the journey with our loyal customers, some of whom have been with us throughout the past 40 years, and to welcome new creative minds into our world of leather.

With love,

The United Leather team