We use premium U.S. leather from one of the last vegetable tanneries in the country. The leather is minimally treated with plant-based tanning agents in an age-old process that makes the material durable and resilient as it softens, stretches and patinas beautifully over time.
When we started out four years ago in the basement of our Portland rental, we were making wallets with felted wool (hence the name Woolly). We soon realized, though, wool gets worse over time. And when you’re putting a product like a wallet out there in the world, that’s meant to be used every day for years, durability is key.
From our backgrounds in design and materials innovation, we knew about vegetable tanned leather and all of its advantages. Not only is the veg-tanning process much better for the environment than chrome tanning (the cheaper and more common alternative), but it produces a more authentic leather material that lasts longer and darkens beautifully over time. This “patina” effect is amazing to see – the leather actually gets better the more you use it and no two wallets end up looking the same. There are only a few materials we interact with in our lives that work this way and we’re proud to use one of them in our products. So proud, in fact, that we’re often fending people off who come up to us at craft fairs wanting to buy our year-old, warn-in example wallet instead of the brand new one. “Sorry, that one’s not for sale!” we say.
In many ways, Woolly is breaking from tradition in the handmade leather goods industry. We use technology and a fresh perspective to make products that move past the traditional aesthetic and production techniques of our peers for a more modern look and feel. But we do it without forgetting the importance of using quality materials, ethical sourcing and making products that last – some of the values we share with a new generation of more conscious consumers. And so, we proudly source our leather from Wickett and Craig, one of the last vegetable tanneries in the US, and, in our own small way, we help carry forward this ancient and important tradition, which has been used to create beautiful leather goods for thousands of years.