Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Magic of Natural Leather

OK, I know...leather.

So what's so special about it?

For a start it is natural. A once-was-living material.
Not made by man in a vat of oil based derivatives, like plastic and other synthetics.

Leather is a by product of the industry that feeds and clothes us all.
To put a not-too-fine-a-point on it, leather is the skin of an animal that has been treated and tanned to become the long lasting outer layer of your shoes, your wallet, a car seat.. a lounge suit, that easy chair, a dress, pants, jackets...and your Nutshell.

But there are many products that claim to be leather. 

That's very true...but remember that there are many animals (and even fish) that have hides that can be tanned.
And every hide has a different property.

And then there are some industries that take the offcuts / scraps from leather that has been used to make something else, mush them all up in a large vat and then spray the results onto a layer of material to create what is called a 'co-skin' - a thin layer of leather on a fabric backing. can even call that leather, but if you do, you are really starting to stretch the truth. 

The leathers we use are all from New Zealand. A country that has long been recognized as a clean, green oasis in the middle of the South Pacific. The Eastern Islands of that hot, dry, vast continent called Australia.

Unlike many places where either land is at a premium, or weather conditions get harsh in the winter, Kiwi bovines (cows to you) are not raised in pens and fed on corn or maize mash. Our cows live in the great outdoors all their lives and munch on natural grasses.

Every pieces of leather we use is unique; no two pieces are exactly the same. Every piece varies, depending on which part of the hide was used to make your Nutshell.

Tanning can be a dirty business, involving chemicals and additives that can be quite toxic. We prefer to use veg-tanned leathers,. They cost a bit more but the processes are natural and do not use nasty chemicals.

Tell me more

An example of a pure veg-tan is our recently introduced Russet leathers.
This is leather that has been sustainably tanned, and has not had an artificial color added.

As a natural leather it starts off quite light in color, but as you use it, it darkens up, especially in places where the leather stretches to fit around the device that is inside the case.
Eventually the leather becomes almost 'sun tanned' in appearance; a dark, rich brown that has the look of a well-aged saddle.

And what's even better, a veg-tanned Russet leather will just keep getting nicer and nicer, the more you use it.

When we first created Nutshell in 1997, we promised ourselves that we would deliver the best products we could to our customer with no compromises. We are still keeping that promise, all these many years later.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Greetings 2010 - Ho Ho Ho

Once again it is "that" time of the year - when the world (much of it) goes mad with buying fever, bonhomie and good will to all men. Christmas. The time of giving - and receiving.

Unfortunately, at Nutshell, it is also a time of extreme busy, as in the weeks before the blessed event people scramble to make sure that their gift arrives on time to be placed under the tree, or in the stocking pinned to the mantle piece (do people still have mantle pieces?).

Add to this profusion of confusion is that fact that Nutshell lives 'down under' in a place where Christmas falls in the middle of summertime, so that it coincides with our summer holiday season. This means that while those of you in the Northern hemisphere are shivering in the chill, sipping warm  mulled wines, ploughing down the piste and feasting on Christmas fare, down here in the Southern hemisphere we are sharing warmth, sunlight and sunburn with our friends and neighbors in Australia, South Africa and South America.

This time of summer fun means, however, that Nutshell goes into a manufacturing hiatus as people seek sun, surf, sun tans and relaxation.

As a result our operations go into slowdown for a couple of weeks. This year (2010) most folk will be breaking from their work on December 22 and rejoining the workforce two weeks later...after New Year.

Of course Nutshell will be maintaining a watching brief on orders and customer enquiries over this time, but if you are considering the use of a courier to speed your Nutshell to you - forget it. Along with the rest of New Zealand our couriers are also taking that well deserved summer break.

Merry Christmas to all and to everyone.
And may 2011 be better than 2010 and deliver you all that you wish for (in the nicest way possible.)