We don’t colour the leather; the beautiful natural light, goldish colour is all done by the spruce. The contrasts with darker leather from oak bark tanneries which to my eyes is not so charming.
You can tell a Böle briefcase by its leather. They all have their own subtle nuances, all one-of-a-kind and different. To make one of our briefcases we will need to use an entire hide, and with such an expanse of leather there will inevitably be nicks and dents on the surface. To many people this doesn’t look right, as consumers have been educated that perfect leather has to be spotless, but to us that is not the case. These other leathers are only spotless because they have been painted with a coating to colour blemishes and scars, and this even surface, with nothing on it, is definitely not how leather looks in its more natural state. By showing the leather in its natural state, it means each of our briefcases will look slightly different, with their own distinctive charm, where the story of the cow or reindeer’s lives, and what they have gone through, will come out in the leather. They’re unique.
However, I think the signature of Böle leather is the look and feeling of how it will age over time. Our customers are our best spokesmen for this, and they often tell us that takes 15-to-20 years for the leather to reach its best personality, where you can see scratches and colourings that you couldn’t see before.
The character of using the spruce bark tanning technique is that you get a rich body of leather. With chrome-tanned leather, you get a smooth, soft leather, which you won’t be able to feel the body of, whereas the particles of the spruce bark tanning agents gives our leather a more sturdy and robust feel that will last a long time. You couldn’t use our leather for clothing, well certainly not for innerwear, but for the products that we use it for, it’s perfect.
In our view, ours is the real leather, with a combination of good raw materials and natural scars, but of course not everyone agrees, and this narrows down our market in a way, but we’re proud of the way we do things at Böle, producing the real thing. It’s one of the reasons why we don’t sell leather to anyone else, as it probably wouldn’t be accepted in the industry, which is demanding perfection. We do get asked by shoe brands and leather goods companies to supply them with leather, but they all get the same answer that we consume everything ourselves and we’re unable to supply them.
We use Swedish cattle hides, and whenever possible we use mountain cattle from northern parts of Sweden. The cattle higher in the mountains produce better leather as there are less insect bites and there are less people around, so the animals will be outside and have greater room to roam, and less likely to get nicks and cuts from barbed wire, branches etc. Mountain cattle also have a thicker hide, because of the cold, and this gives a better structure of leather with a lot of body. Since we don’t colour our leather to cover up blemishes, it’s more critical to get best material at the beginning, and so we work with farmers and coach them on their husbandry techniques to get the best hides. Given the quality of the hides there’s a lot of demand for them, but for us it’s not a problem, we’re happy to invest in getting the best possible quality hides.
Our reindeer leather comes from either Finland or Sweden, the main habitat for reindeer, although we mainly use Swedish reindeer. The reindeer industry is very small with husbandry carried out via the Sami people; it’s a very volatile business with reindeer slaughter only taking place twice a year. The animals live in the natural environment, and as they are a wild animal it’s very hard to get consistent quality and thickness of the hide. The reindeer provide milk for making into cheese, and the antlers which grow every year are revered within Sami culture. As with Swedish cattle, the reindeer are slaughtered to provide meat, but unlike cattle, most reindeer hides are used for making fur, probably about 70%, and the remainder are used in the leather industry. The Sami people have been using reindeer leather for …” Read full story on merchantandmakers.com