One of the first things you might notice about your new bag is that it comes with a noticeably 'earthy' smell, one you've possibly never smelt before. This is the smell of genuine vegetable tanned leather. As you know our leather is sourced from the traditional Moroccan tannery in Marrakech. One of very few tanneries in the world still using ancient techniques to produce vegetable-tanned leather. This chemical free process is slow fashion in motion and requires artisanal skill and perfect conditions, like the hot Moroccan sun to turn hide into workable material. This traditional tannery has been using the same methods and natural matter to complete this long and undoubtably hard process for more than 800 years, something that the Moroccan people are truly proud of.
Anyone who has been to Morocco will immediately be taken aback to the dusty backstreets of the Medina & anyone who knows the nature of leather and what it should smell like will appreciate the authenticity. But for those of you who have never smelt vegetable tanned leather before, don't be alarmed! What you're experiencing is very different to the leather you're most likely used to seeing, touching and smelling. Even though the unique smell is a characteristic of vegetable tanned leather it does go away, I promise!
What you're accustom to seeing and using is most likely chrome tanned leather. It's the fast fashion, cheap alternative for producing leather. Made popular because of it's low costs and quick turnover, chrome tanned leather can be completed in just a day, whereas vegetable tanned leather takes anywhere from 30-90 days to produce. Chrome tanned leather makes up 90% of the leather made and purchased today and is pumped with chemicals, most of which are dangerous to workers and horribly pollutive for our environment. Vegetable tanned leather on the other hand is a natural process, using organic matter, the traditional way.
Here we go into more depth about the vegetable tanning leather process.
Our bags are made in limited numbers, as we only work with small family business' in Marrakech for production. Therefor when you receive a bag it's most likely just been crafted. That means the leather has literally just been plucked out of that tannery, directly to our artisans for creation and then to us here in Melbourne. So it hasn't had very much time to air out, hence the strong smell you're experiencing.
So what do you do?
Use! Use! Use!
The best way to rid of that 'earthy' smell is to simply use the hell out of your new bag. We talk about how your Lost Little One will change and mould to you with use, this ageing process will soften the leather opening the pores and releasing the odour. You can leave your bag outside to air out for a couple of days, but the moving and using, your natural scent, the oils on your hands and the things you put in your bag will all aid in ridding the smell. With consistent use the smell will diminish within a couple of weeks. We do NOT recommend leaving your bag out in the sun and perfume is a definite no, no!
You can also give your bag a light wash with a professional leather cleaner of your choice. Opt for something gentle and be sure to condition afterwards. We always suggest you test a small, inconspicuous area first as colour change may occur.
Please note that this 'earthy' smell is a characteristic of genuine vegetable tanned leather and is not considered a fault.
Also Read :Vegetable-tanned leather - What is it?
Meet the Makers - Meet the artisans behind Lost Little One
Ethically Made - What is it that makes us ethical?
Leather Care - How to care for your vegetable-tanned leather bag