Cork is a brilliant material. It is soft to touch, complex and rich aesthetically, as strong a high quality leather, and fantastically sustainable as well, making it a perfect alternative to leather to make wallets or purses from.
During a recent trip to Portugal we stumbled across a selection of cork wallets in a local market and impulsively bought one. It was only after Robbie had been using it for a few weeks, and noticed that people kept asking him about it, did we realise this is something that fits perfectly with Espresso Mushroom Company, so we should find a way to offer them to our customers too.
Our range of wallets are all handmade and use Portuguese cork.
The Women’s Purse is really simple and neat and allows you to see and feel the beauty of the fabric and a strong golden zip complimenting the rich cork colour. Inside, there are ample sections for bank cards, driving license, loyalty cards, gym cards, business cards, cash and a zip compartment for change – it’s a bit like the Tardis!
We selected a range of wallets to meet different needs: a The Card Holder is simple, elegant and slips into your pocket keeping all cards, receipts and notes together. The SilmFold Wallet is a really neat design with enough space for your cards, a photo window and neat back section to keep cash accessible. If you like to keep everything in one place, the Cork Classic Men’s Wallet is best and follows a conventional bifold format, with plenty of space for cards, cash, photos and more.
The softness of cork can’t be overstated – there’s a silky feel about them as you would expect from a high class piece of leather, almost like the top of a brie cheese! That natural softness is matched by a real durability and strength, and rich texture from the cork oak bark, making each wallet completely unique.
Being able to offer wallets made from an alternative to leather is fantastic – these wallets don’t contain any animal derivatives, and further more we are really excited about the sustainability of cork.
Unlike your money, cork really does grow on trees and is renewable. Cork Oak trees are harvested for their cork, then left in for nine years while the cork regrows. Cork trees naturally occur in mixed-plant woodlands which our green crush, Lucy Siegle describes as the ‘Rolls Royce of Woodlands’ and according to the WWF, the remaining 108,000 hectares of Portuguese cork oak forests are instrumental in preventing this region from turning into a dustbowl.
Cork Oaks live up to around 170 – 200 years, so can be harvested approximately 15 times during their lifetime. After harvesting, the cork bark is left to stabilise for several months. They are then treated with boiling water to break down the structure and make it easier to work with.
Once dry, thin strips of cork are shaved from the bark and placed on a fabric backing to create a mosaic patchwork. These sheets are used to create the wallets that we supply, and contribute to the unique grain pattern on each item.
You can check out our range of wallets here