With the world moving a little faster every year and our lives rushing past us at what by now seems like the speed of light, we made the conscious decision to take a few steps back, literally and figuratively. Els & Co.’s vision is to revive the lost art of leather craftsmanship and to produce beautiful, well designed products that you'll only have to purchase once in your lifetime. We step back in time to an era before injection moulding and mechanised manufacturing, when pride in what you made was more important than how many you made. An era when there was time to turn a craft into an art form.
Els & Co. was born out of a passion for good quality leather products. Throughout the centuries leather has always been synonymous with quality, a product that will probably outlive its owner. The touch of it in your hand, the smell of it when you handle it, the way it gets better every year as you use it. When cared for it ages like a good bottle of red wine becoming more than what it was when it was made. It softens to the touch and develops character, charming its current owner into wanting to use it.
Like a good red wine, to craft an exceptional product you have to start with the best components. And so our products are crafted from the best quality top grain vegetable tanned leather we can find. We source solid brass buckles and clips from small artisanal foundries, and the canvas and felt we purchase from weavers that have been in business for more than 200 years. To further achieve that genuine old school finish we brush dye the leather, then oil it with our own mixture of beeswax and animal fat. After moulding the leather it is painstakingly hand stitched, an art in itself that takes several years to master. The result is a product that looks and feels like it was made 100 years ago, abundant in charm, and will last a lifetime.
Finding craftsmen in a mass-producing world is no small feat. But we believe in the abilities of the millions of people of our beautiful country for whom there are very few opportunities to escape the poverty cycle they are trapped in. It is our mission to train as many of these individuals as possible and over time to build a team of true craftsmen who have intimate tactile knowledge of this dying art form.
We employ primarily Xhosa women because the Xhosa tribe is one of the proudest people in South Africa, and pride in what you do is the first step to becoming an exceptional craftsman. Further we believe that women, on average, are socially more responsible than men, which will lead to the wise spending of money and the upliftment of not only our craftsmen but their families too.
Each woman working at Els & Co. was trained from scratch, with no prior knowledge of leather product manufacturing. And every product is made from start to finish by one individual craftsman and is proudly stamped with her initials. On our website under OUR TEAM you will find a short story on each craftsman with a sample of their signature stamp for easy identification.
When investing in an Els & Co. product you are not only buying a top end product, you're also buying into our believe that we can all make a difference, a small bit at a time.
Over time Els & Co. has carved a niche for itself as a supplier of truly top quality hand crafted goods for the discerning individuals who can appreciate our art. We have partnered with well known brands like John Rigby & Co., Singita Lodges, La Motte Wines, Boss & Co., Safari & Outdoor, Melvill & Moon etc to build a brand synonymous with old school quality craftsmenship.
At Els & Co. we believe that people are ready to move away from call centres and cheap, low quality products that last a week longer than their guarantee. We believe people are yearning for personal one on one service and a product with a soul that will last a lifetime.