Why + How We Use Leather

“The most sustainable thing you can wear is the thing that is already in your closet”

I don’t recall who said this first but the sentiment is something that really resonates with us as a brand. Environmental issues have become a huge factor in consumer purchasing decisions. As a result, categorizations like “Eco Friendly” and “Sustainable” have been tossed around like buzzwords. Now, the market is so diluted that these terms are meaningless on their own. With that in mind, I am going to start by letting you know that we are not today, tomorrow, or any day afterwards going to claim to be “the most sustainable brand” out there. The truth is there is way too much nuance to all of this for buzzwords like “eco friendly” to convey. Instead I’d like to talk to you about why we make goods the way we do out of the materials we choose, namely leather. 

It is important to establish that leather itself is a byproduct of a much larger industry, animal agriculture. In other words, there are no cows raised for the purpose of making leather goods. In fact the hide of a cow on average accounts for 6%-8% of its total market value. As makers of leather goods we are at the tail end of an industry, taking what would otherwise become waste and making something useful and ideally meaningful of it.

Our goal is to craft a byproduct into heirloom quality goods.

In addition to being a byproduct, leather's natural durability also makes it a sustainable choice. Like I said earlier, the most sustainable thing you can wear is the thing already in your closet. That is why we use leather to craft heritage quality goods that will last a lifetime, or maybe even a couple of lifetimes!

We guarantee our products for life because we believe in making things that are worthy of repair rather than replacement. 

Now that we have shared why we use leather to make our goods we can talk about how. In our books every resource is precious and it is our responsibility as craftspeople to design and make goods in a way that reduces waste as much as possible.
One way we do that is by designing bags like our Vagabond Sling Pack to be patterned with many small pieces allowing us to construct the bag from 100% remnant leather that is produced in the process of cutting patterns for our larger bags. The same logic is applied in the design of our small leather accessories like the Medicine Wallet, Leather Lighters, Caravan Pouch, Dopp Kit and many others.

Always with close attention to maximizing the yield of every hide in order to reduce any potential waste to as close to 0% as possible.

Lastly, as a brand that sells goods we are hyper aware of our role in consumer culture. As a part of consumer culture we believe in using our platform to advocate for a version of consumerism that is values driven, community oriented, and yes environmentally conscious because ultimately for us it’s all connected. We make goods to be useful and beautiful, and to add value and joy to the lives of the people who purchase them. We sell goods to make money in order to support ourselves and our team, to give back to our community, and to support other USA makers and shakers by stocking their goods in our shop. We do it because we love it and because we believe that now is the time to return to the days of knowing your craftspeople and having a deep personal connection with the goods you choose to purchase. We are all consumers but what we choose to consume has a massive impact. Happy shopping folks, we are really grateful to have you in our community and to be a part of yours.

Thanks for reading! 

- Sidney, Brand Manager at The Local Branch

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