Cork: It’s so much more than a wine-bottle stopper. Now you can carry or wear cork accessories and support forests at the same time.
Portuguese brand Pelcor found an inventive way to use cork in hats, umbrellas, handbags, totes and more using “cork skin,” which is in fact the meaning of the company name, Pelcor.
Sandra Correia’s grandfather founded a factory in Portugal that produced corks for the finest champagnes in Europe for more than 30 years. In 2003, she envisioned a new way to use cork, which is harvested from Portugal’s cork oak trees every nine years. It was a winning idea — beautiful accessories showcasing the unique texture and colors of cork, as well as a way to sustain and renew the Portuguese cork oak forests.
Pelcor prides itself on working with local factories and sourcing eco-friendly materials, too.
Perhaps you, like us, don’t know much about cork. Pelcor explains that cork oak trees can live for 250 to 350 years! You can harvest the cork once a tree is 20 or 25 years old, and then every nine years after that. When you consider that every tree yields several hundred pounds of cork, you can see how cork farming (it may not technically be called that…) makes financial as well as ecological sense.
Of course cork has lovely texture and color shades, which makes each of these accessories one-of-a-kind. Other attributes that set the Pelcor products apart are down to the company’s proprietary “cork skin,” the designers say: “Characterized by an elusive scent of dry wood and a smooth texture, Pelcor cork skin is extremely lightweight, waterproof, flexible, resistant, insulating, and environmentally friendly.”
Those qualities make the Bumblebee Shopper a perfect bag for toting groceries. The canvas panels give the bag added strength and stability, and there is a magnet fastening and an inside pocket for your wallet and keys.
If you prefer a splash of color, aim for the Cricket Shopper, which comes in this berry color and also a light aqua/teal shade or natural. The bamboo handles add a stylish upgrade to the leather-free tote, along with its silver hardware. The bag snaps shut with a magnet fastening and has a pocket inside to keep valuables in one place.
Pelcor founder Sandra Correia’s first cork skin product was an umbrella, and it’s proved so popular over the years that it still holds a pride of place in the company’s online catalog. Now, though, the designers have added a “B” version too, with a slimmer handle, black frame and a handy case with a strap so that you can carry it over your shoulder while you wait for the first raindrops to fall.
Other modernizations to the Pelcor line include baseball-style caps, a bucket hat, a reversible belt, iPad sleeves, notebooks, wallets, an apron, key rings and a nifty 4G USB stick tucked into a cork-skin carrying case with a key ring attachment.
How to cool to think that your cork-skin iPad case might actually be hundreds of years old, linking old-growth Portuguese forests to the digital age and beyond. Neat.