Introducing Vegetable Tanned Leather!
The Soft Star elves are excited to announce that we now offer vegetable tanned leather from Ecopell as an option for many of our design-your-own shoes!
Ecopell is a German company that has been vegetable-tanning leather since 1992. While all of the natural leather used in the Soft Star workshop is formaldehyde-free and colored with non-toxic food grade dye, Ecopell goes a step further and uses purely vegetable substances for their tanning method. Their unsealed surface process leaves the leather extremely breathable. Please note that leather tanned in this method is more susceptible to staining and moisture absorption. Ecopell vegetable tanned leather has a slightly more matte surface than our regular natural smooth leather with a soft, luxurious hand.
Ecopell's tanning method is designed to minimize their carbon footprint and chemical usage for what the folks at Ecopell call "one of the most environmentally-friendly leathers worldwide." Ecopell is also a proud member of Biokreis, the German association for ecological farming, and holds very high standards for sustainable practices. Even the cows used for their vegetable tanned hides must adhere to specific levels of quality: they must be dairy cows that are chiefly grass-fed and humanely raised on sustainable or organic family farms in the Bavarian Alps region of southern Germany.
Our policy is to source all of our raw materials locally in the USA. We have made an exception for the Ecopell tannery as there is not a comparable product in the USA and they are clearly aligned with our goals to walk lightly on the earth. We are starting with a small selection of Ecopell leather colors and may add more colors if there is enough customer demand for this product. At this time, we are offering Ecopell's vegetable tanned leather in smooth beige, black and olive green (please note that due to varying thicknesses, not all colors are available for all shoes).
Since this imported leather comes at a significantly higher material cost than our US-sourced leather, we must charge an additional fee when it is added to your design-your-own (DYO) shoes. You can find it as a color option on most of our DYO shoes that are made with smooth leather, including our Ramblers, RunAmocs, Merry Janes and child Classics.
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