How to Shop for a Leather Bag
Before going into a store to buy a leather product, first think about what you're looking for. If it’s to buy a leather tote for $25, then you probably shouldn’t be searching for a real and true leather bag. For those saving money, the easiest leather to gravitate towards is “Genuine Leather”. It sounds genuine, but it’s actually not. You’re not necessarily getting fake leather, you’re just not getting the top grain or full grain. In most cases, genuine leather is actually split leather. This means the lower layers of the hide are stripped off. The outer, more higher-quality parts are the “top grain”. Cow skins are able to be split into various levels, genuine leather can come from the bottom secondary layers. Genuine leather may also be mixed with leather scraps and artificial materials and bonding agents. If you're looking for a product that is authentic and built to last you for years to come, you're in the right spot.
Leather is a hard thing to shop for. We admit it. We all want the best leather shoes and bags. Leather can be made from the hide of almost any animal including pigs, sheep, goats and crocodiles. However, the most common hide is from a cow. Most leather goods are produced from the hides of a cow because it's the byproduct of the growing meat industry. The process of preparing a hide to turn into leather is no small feat, it's lengthy and requires a meticulous skill. When a hide is first prepared, the skin is removed from the animal and then the flesh also. At the end of that process you should be left with a white, clean surface. The hide continues to soak in a salt brine to prevent the decomposition stage. The hides are moved to the tanning yard - a large space compromised of a lot of vats, each one filled with a proprietary blend of natural tannins, mainly tree bark, from trees such as Mimosas and Quebrachos. The hides spend two weeks soaking in this special tanning liquor, which we continually replenish and recirculate to guarantee deep, allover absorption. The leathers are set out to remove any wrinkles before drying. Stretched out and clamped on a perforated stainless steel screen, the hides are air dried in a climate-controlled, dehumidified space for around three days before undergoing the final step of softening the hides. At this point, the tanned, dyed, conditioned and soften hides are almost ready for delivery. Finally, they’re ironed to render the surface smooth and even. A final grade is given and the leathers are shipped. The entire process takes around six weeks, which is exponentially more than the chrome tanning, but the results speak for themselves. Now you can consider this process when you think about buying a leather bag, all of the work that goes in for you.
We source our leather from one of the last vegetable tanneries in the country - Wickett and Craig. They use a eco-friendly approach to leather. For over 150 years, Wickett and Craig has been in the business of vegetable tanning leather. Tanned hides are considered blank canvases to W+C. They slowly become transformed into richly colored leathers. They dye the hides naturally, with different types of vegetables. This is a more extensive process but in the end it creates a product that stands the test of time. The hides of leather, from W+C retain optimal durability. Each piece varies slightly in color tones, with beautiful natural markings. We personally love the way leather ages and develops color and wear. It’s a piece of history that you carry on your arm everyday. We take pride in using a leather that comes from an environmentally-friendly tannery and we then are able to produce a product that lasts a lifetime. The more you use your bag, the more appealing it becomes. It’s not solely about functionality at this point, it’s about the relationship you begin to craft between you and your bag. It’s a new beginning for you to create into. We designed our bags to be your companion on all everyday adventures. Every adventure plays a part into the story of you. Our bags overtime will reflect on those experiences.