A soft, vegan and environmentally friendly alternative to leather, that's what you'll find at Captain Cork!
Ina De Quint started her brand in 2018 as a tribute to her deceased father. The environmentally conscious man taught his children how to recycle, reuse and consume slowly and also had a few projects of his own. He bought a house in Portugal, which he wanted to convert into a fully self-sufficient, ecological home when he retired. Ina regularly went to Portugal to take care of the administration and accounting of the project. Together they were impressed by the ecological miracle cork that is being processed in that region. Unfortunately Ina's daddy, the Captain, died at the age of 59 of esophageal cancer and he never managed to realize his Portuguese dream. Ina decided to say goodbye to her career in the business and let the dream live on with Captain Cork: handbags, hats, jewellery, shoes and even baby toys in cork!
"The cork industry in Portugal originally lived from making cork stoppers for the wine and cava industry and this since Dom Perignon bottled his champagne with cork in the 17th century. A few years ago, the wine industry switched to synthetic wine stoppers. The cork manufacturers were obliged to find a new market and they found it in the lifestyle sector." Ina says.
The cork tree actually brings many advantages for the environment. For example, a peeled cork tree converts 3 to 5 times more CO2 into oxygen, thus absorbing energy to regenerate its bark. That's why the plantations are often seen by biologists as the Amazon rainforest of Europe. The cork trees are peeled every 8 to 10 years. The bark is then bent and has to be removed. By removing its bark, the tree can produce more bark and therefore more oxygen. Cork is also a renewable material. The trees do not need to be chopped down and therefore do not need to be planted over and over again.
In order to arrive at an end product, the cork industry in Portugal tries to be as ecological as possible. Cork is peeled and dried and cut into small pieces. The thin strips of bark are 'tanned' by water processes into a soft, flexible and smooth material. No chemicals or toxins are used. Cork is purely natural and completely vegan.
All production of Captain Cork takes place in Portugal. In order to manufacture cork, you need to be very precise. The industry calls in professionals for this. They are among the highest paid workers in Europe. Be careful, because not all cork in the world is equally sustainable. Asian cork or European cork that is processed in Asia is much less ecologically sound. The cork is often of poor quality and poorly tanned. For example, the chemical glue used by the cork factories there contains animal components, dangerous chemicals are released during the production process and the transport ensures a larger ecological footprint. Be careful where you buy your cork accessories. In Belgium, the best place to buy them is at Captain Cork!
Would you rather keep it environmentally friendly and vegan in your life? Spoil yourself with an accessory from Captain Cork.