Did you know that harvesting the bark to make our bags helps the trees grow and live longer? In fact, it helps the trees breathe and release more oxygen so they can grow healthier.
Once the tree has been harvested, it fully regenerates within 7 to 9 years without harming the tree. This process increases the life of the oak tree to approximately 200 years.
Where is cork sourced
Cork oak trees mostly grow in Portugal and Spain. In fact, Portugal exports more than 50% of the world's cork supply.
Our cork leather is sourced from Portugal.
How is cork processed
First, the bark is carefully and ethically removed from the oak tree. This cork harvesting process requires strict procedures to protect and not harm the tree.
Harvesting the bark helps the tree grow taller and live longer. As the bark naturally absorbs huge amounts of carbon dioxide, removing the bark helps the tree breathe and release more oxygen.
This process also helps protect the habitats of species living in the cork oak forests.
Second, the bark is left outside to completely dry in the sun for a few months. This step removes the moisture and helps the cork bark to lay flat.
Third, the cork bark is then boiled and carefully washed. The cork skin is then inspected to make sure it is at its highest quality. The remaining cork that does not pass the quality test is used to make new products such as corkboards to avoid any waste.
Fourth, the high-quality cork skin is now ready to be transformed into a bag and much more! It is at this step that the cork skin is cut, rolled into thin sheets and pressed to make the bag. The cork is dyed using natural, plant-based dyes.
We do not use any harmful chemical coatings or dyes on our handbags and accessories. We pay close attention to avoid chemicals such as toxic dioxins that is released in the air.
Our cork is only sourced from sustainable and ethical harvesters in Portugal. Our harvesters have strict policies and procedures to protect the cork oak forests and the animals who live in these forests.
We do not support mass production. Each piece is handmade by skilled artisans with a commitment to quality and eco-friendly craftsmanship. We work with skilled artisans of over 25 years experience with cork fabrics to make our handbags and accessories.
Even with a high demand of our cork handbags, it is important for us that our products remain handmade with care. We pay attention to every detail for our bags to be a staple in every costumer’s wardrobe with the highest quality cork fabric.
VCharles cork handbags are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, eco-friendly and ethically sourced. This fabric is also completely recyclable, lightweight, waterproof, resistant, and biodegradable.
What about the carbon footprint
We are constantly innovating our manufacturing processes, materials and business model to contribute to sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can improve, please let us know! Your feedback is an opportunity to reflect on ways we can do better for the environment and the animals.
Where are the handbags manufactured
Our handbags are proudly handmade in China. We have high requirements to make sure that the vision and values of VCharles aligns with our manufacturers. For instance, they are required to have skilled artisans who have experience working with high quality cork leather. Most importantly, our manufacturers have to strictly follow our cruelty-free and eco-friendly processes. It is after we communicated with hundreds of manufacturers globally that we have made the proud decision to have our bags handmade in China. They were the only manufacturers to follow our code of ethics and requirements.
Our priority: Fair working conditions and quality cork material
Our artisans are treated with respect, have excellent working conditions, and earn a fair wage. The facilities are safe, organized and no dangerous machines are used to make our handbags.
Together, let’s end the stigma with “Made in China’’ products. Rest assured that we only work with partners who are part of our environmentally-friendly vision and who provide the highest quality material available in the market today. Most importantly, all handbags and accessories are ethically manufactured.
We require a third party inspection report to make sure our partners corresponds to our code of ethics and high requirements. We also visit annually our partners to ensure that everything is done correctly.
At VCharles, we believe that you should never have to compromise between fashion trends and sustainability.
Check out our selection of vegan cork bags and accessories to learn more ! It is a love and respect for nature and the animals.