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The vegetable tanning process explained for leather bags

vegetable tanned

Why vegetable-tanned leather?

This is a misjudgment that vegetable-tanned leather is vegan. Actually, vegetable-tanned leather refers to the way of tanning which literally means using vegetable tanning leather. It is a historical, traditional and organic way. Here, I will briefly introduce the process of how to make vegetable-tanned leather.


First, as we know, the leather is actually from cows which we called rawhides. Kaillou’s leather is the discarded product from the food industry, no animals are killed for their leather. 

After we get the hides, the next step is to put them into a liming pit to burn hairs off. After this step, we just have leather, and no hides anymore.

Pits in morocco

STEP 2: The tanning process.

The leather will be put in a tannin drum and tanned with natural extract from branches, leaves, and bark. This process is totally natural and no chemicals are involved. The tanning process lasts around two months. The main advantage of using vegetable-tanned leather is mainly :

  • Respectable for the environment.
  • Rich and deep colors lasting in the time.
  • Leather changing over time: softer, darker, long-lasting texture.
  • A singular and natural scent from the leather.

Natural color after the tanning process.

Due to the organic tanning restriction, limited colors can be dyed on leather, mainly by using low key colors. The interesting thing about vegetable ink is that their unique color-changing and patina is developing. Of course, it also depends on your own caring and time of usage.

Dyeing process at Kaillou.

Why is vegetable-tanned leather for you?

As I mentioned before, this is a natural tanning process. Plants’ leaves, barks, and branches are used so that the leather obtains a natural fragrance. Moreover, the plants used are 100% organic and non-toxic to our skin, to avoid chemical allergies.

On the other hand, quality is one of the best features of our vegetable-tanned leather. Many craftsmen do leather carving to showcase the beauty of leather in an artistic way. Animal carving bags and accessories are Kaillou’s signature products.

This rabbit bag from Kaillou was made from thousands of hand carving processes, and 5 days carving.

The fact is that animals live in nature and will absolutely have scars by mosquitos, insects or other living experience.  Thus there are high requirements of raw hides for vegetable tanning. This is why vegetable tanned leather is way more expensive and be always considered for high-end products and brands.

The main reason for choosing vegetable tanned leather is to care about the environment as well as the customer’s experience. Each scar on leather tells us a unique life experience, just like all of us. 

Why are chemicals dangerous?

Different from natural tanning, another tanning process is chrome tanning. It uses heavy dyeing to embellish the hides. It uses the machine to give artificial grains which are completely opposite to vegetable tanning.

For more explanations on this process, I invite you to read Carryology’s blog.

Our leather supplier: Pelle Al Vegetale

Our vegetable-tanned leather is imported from Italy from The Genuine Italian Vegetable Tanned Leather Consortium. They guarantee the best leather quality in the world.

According to their guidelines, here are their principles :

  • No animal is killed for its skin. On the contrary, the raw hides used by our tanneries are the discarded by-products of the food industry […].
  • Being tanned with natural tannins, a vegetable-tanned leather object can be easily disposed of at the end of its life[…].
  • Our tanneries have made huge investments in depuration systems. Waste recycling that makes them work in full respect of man and the environment.
  • Many of the substances used during the tanning process are recovered, recycled and reused in different fields. Hair removed from raw hides is transformed into […]fertilizer. Sludge produced by the depuration plants is reused in the construction field to make bricks.
  • Vegetable-tanned leather, […] does not contain any toxic substance. […]

Thanks for reading!

Visit our shop to find out about our bags and accessories.


1 thought on “The vegetable tanning process explained for leather bags

  1. I have discovered great messages right here.
    I love the way you write. Perfect!

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