Married cover leather is a phrase used for leather furniture styles that are paired with certain leathers and frames. These are basic popular leather colors and popular furniture frames. Leather furniture manufactures offer these select styles in limited color choices for a reduced cost from the regular priced in line items. Although the styles are current the leathers are not always made available in the full line of leather choices. In other words, these select leathers can only be used as they are presented, no exceptions. Most of these leathers are not stocked in the United States they are only at the factory in China or Mexico.
Once a manufacture decides on what styles will be paired with what leathers they negotiate a price with the tannery on those specific leather choices. These leathers are generally not what we call premium hides. Typically, they are from China, South America or other locations outside of the United States or Europe. South America and China are the largest contributors to the Married Cover programs. Once the price has been set between the two parties the labor can then be negotiated. No unions and the lack of manufacturing regulations allow the price point to be much lower than you can expect to pay in the US.
As mentioned the color choices are the basics. Browns, burgundies and creams are among the most popular, although you will find black leather recliners are also widely available through these programs. Many US based leather furniture manufactures use married cover to offer a lower price point within their regular furniture line. This works as a draw for furniture stores to advertise a much lower price than you would expect from these mid to upper priced leather furniture lines.
Bradington Young has been offering this program for many years and now other manufactures like Hancock and Moore, now that they are owned by Century, and no longer a standalone company, have also opted for offshore manufacturing to reduce their labor costs and target a lower price point. Companies like Leathercraft and McKinley Leather have chosen not to participate in these offshore programs as they both boost employee loyalty and keeping America strong and their products green. Omnia Leather is another example of keeping their products all built 100% in America.
Now that the price has been nailed down and the frames have been selected the American based furniture manufactures send their patterns to the offshore furniture companies to cut and sew the leather using their patterns. So the labor cost is lower and so is the cost per square foot for the leather. Almost 70% of the cost of a leather sofa is in the leather itself. So by sending the leather and labor out of the country a huge savings has already occurred. This allows the lower price point. Cut, sewn and trimmed now it's load on a container and shipped to America. Once it has arrived at the manufacture the upholstery begins. This defiantly saves you money, but you are giving up your options. You can expect most of the leathers used in married cover to be a finished hide or a good degree of protection because they have been sanded to hide any blemishes within the hide itself. Also causing the grain to be very consistent and can sometimes look manmade rather than natural.
Keep in mind other countries do not use the same standards as we in America use for furniture manufacturing. American based leather furniture manufactures have guide lines that they follow for cutting around scars, urine burns and brands other nations do not follow these same guidelines, so it is acceptable that they may use a larger scar on the inside of a piece where if the same leather was cut in America this spot would be either cut around or used on an outback or out arm panel certainly not where you sit. These are just things to think about while trying to decide on married cover products vs regular in line items that are all assembled and made in the USA.
The standards in these countries are far less than we expect or practice here in America. We cannot completely regulate their manufacturing practices. In fact, the chemicals used in tanning there are not allowed to be used here in the states because of our laws. Although they are using our patterns to cut and sew you should not expect the same pride and time taken. Subtle flaws are just going to be part of the price point with these products.
This is a great way to save some cash if you are looking for a single piece or maybe just a leather sofa and matching chair but you need to know whatever you buy from a married cover piece you should never expect to get a dye lot match in the future. It will not happen! So the savings may not be worth it.
So anytime you hear the term Married Cover this is what you can expect. Luxury brands without the luxury price!