Els & Co. Fine Leather Craftsmen – A Return to True Craftsmanship

Words: Crush

With the world moving a little faster every year and life rushing past us at the speed of light, the team at Els & Co. Fine Leather Craftsmen turn back time to an era when craftsmen could live out their passion. A time when pride in what you made was more important than how many you could make.

Els & Co. Fine Leather

The Els & Co. Fine Leather Dream

The team behind Els & Co. Fine Leather seek to revive the lost art of leather craftsmanship and to produce beautiful, well designed yet practical products that you’ll only have to purchase once in your lifetime.

Throughout the centuries leather has always been synonymous with quality and durability, with hand-stitched leather products often outliving its first owner. Els & Co. originated from a passion for leather.

“The touch of it between your fingers, the smell when you handle it, the way it gets better every year you use it.”

When cared for it ages like a good bottle of red wine becoming more than what it was when freshly bottled. It softens to the touch, gains ‘battle scars’ and develops character, charming its current owner into wanting to use it.

Els & Co. Fine Leather

How Els & Co. Fine Leather Products are made

Like a good red wine, to craft an exceptional product you have to start with the best components. Els & Co. products are crafted from the best quality top grain vegetable tanned leather. They carefully source solid brass buckles and clips from small artisanal foundries, and the canvas and felt is purchased from weavers that have been in business for over 200 years.

To further achieve that genuine old-school finish, the leather is brushed with dye, then oiled with a homemade mixture of beeswax and animal fat. After moulding the leather it is painstakingly hand-stitched, an art in itself that takes several years to master. The result is a product that looks and feels like it was made 100 years ago, abundant in charm, and made to last a lifetime.

Upskilling and Training The team behind Els Fine Leather Co

Finding craftsmen in a mass-producing world is no small feat. But Els & Co. Fine Leather believe in the ability of the millions of people of our beautiful country, for whom there are very few opportunities to escape the poverty cycle that they are trapped in. And so, it became their mission to train those wonderful people and build a team of true craftsmen who have intimate, tactile knowledge of this dying art form.

Els & Co. Fine Leather
Els & Co. Fine Leather

“We employ primarily Xhosa women because the Xhosa tribe has an underlying sense of pride, and pride in what you do is the first step to becoming an exceptional craftswomen. Furthermore we believe that women, on average, are socially more responsible than men, which will lead to the upliftment of not only our craftswomen but their families too.”

Every product is made from start to finish by an individual craftswoman and is proudly embossed with a stamp of her initials. On the Els & Co. website, you’ll find a bio of each woman, with a sample of their signature stamp to easily identify who made your valuable leather item. The entire team of craftswomen had no prior knowledge of leather craftsmanship before they joined Els & Co. and ‘hand in hand’ they’ve trained each other to a very high standard.

So, when you’re investing in an Els & Co. product you are not only buying a top end leather item, you’re also buying into a belief that everybody can make a difference, one small bit at a time.

Els & Co.

At Els & Co., they believe that people are yearning for a product with a soul that will enrich life and last a lifetime. Their mission is to fulfil that yearning and to contribute to the finer things in life.

We love Els & Co. products so much, we’ve selected one as a team pick for festive gifting this year

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