Since 2009, the business has been based in Saint Junien (30 minutes west Limoges), the capital of French luxury glove making. My first impressions are baby faced, small round glasses, impressive stature, leather work apron and firm handshake... I follow him into his first-floor showroom. Leather sofa... naturally, a low cabinet displaying a collection of bags, belts and bears, and a large high table in wood, at which we sit.
“When I was 17, I was still in Year 7, so I had to decide what I was going to do for a job”, is how our interview began. Ultimately, that decision was a natural choice... In the school holidays, Thibault travelled around with his father, a leather goods salesman. He then began training with other apprentices making a tour of France (a requirement for master craftsman status) that included Marseille, Tours and Poitiers to learn his trade with top craftsman in prestigious luxury goods companies.
At the age of 26, he took the plunge and created the company he decided to call Daguet. The name says much about this direct, spontaneous and entrepreneurial young man. Its multicoloured logo – as French speakers will have already realised – is a young stag with antlers bursting to grow!!
Thibault loves all high-quality materials, but has a particular passion for leather. Believe me when I tell you that the moment he enters the holy of holies - the hides store - Thibault is transformed. His eyes light up, and he becomes much more chatty and relaxed. He showed us the various hides: elephant, ostrich, python, crocodile, buffalo, bull calf… explaining their properties, their colours and their potential uses. Elated by the smell of the leathers and by his voice, I’d have been happy to spend the whole day listening to him!!
The factory shop is only a step away the workshop, but when I took that step, I succumbed immediately. Quality and ‘Made in NA’... who could resist? I even ordered bespoke bags and belts as Christmas presents for my kids.