Our bags are made in Nepal by communities in the mountains as well as in the Kathmandu Valley. We carry two kinds of leather, buffalo and cow, which each have different properties and ways they are processed.
The buffalo leather is a bit thicker and tougher. A water buffalo is very common in Nepal and the people put all the parts of the animal to good use. The buffalo leather is made by rural villagers and is an environmentally friendly leather product. First, the buffalo skin is soaked in small, lime water filled pits for 22 days. The hide is then cleaned of any unwanted materials. Then, the villagers collect a medical herb leaf called “dhaeru” from local forests. Dhaeru repairs any cuts or wounds in the hide and also acts as the vegetable tannin that turns the hide into leather and provides the rich natural color. After the cleaning process is finished, the hides are once again kept in a small pit with a mixture of dhaeru and water for 7 days. The dhaeru tanning process is repeated three times over 21 days using fresh dhaeru for each batch. The hides are then sun dried then immersed in fresh water for a day. This softens the skin for slicing and cutting. The softened leather is then cut with a tool called a bagh. The bagh is used to slice off excess material to reduce the thickness of the hide. A skilled trimmer can finish 2-3 hides a day. The hides are then pounded with stones to soften them and a vegetable mustard oil is applied and worked into the hide with foot manipulation. Once again, the hides are sun dried. Lastly, the leather is then shaped and polished with a soft, clean cloth. After 45 days, the leather is ready to make bags! The villagers then hand make the bags and get them to us. We are proud of these bags and the beautiful craftsmanship they show. Each of these bags are hand made and crafted so slight variations in the leather show their uniqueness in the local tanning process.
The cow leather bags are designed by us. They use leather processed and purchased in India as cow is sacred and can not be processed in Nepal. We deliver our bag designs to the craftsman and he creates the final product. Our designer is in the valley and employs people coming to the city to find work. Purchasing a Lottie Leather bag sustains the livelihood of craftsman in the valley. The cow leather bags offer contemporary styles at an affordable price.