Craftory: Organic Portemonnaies for your delectation

by Hanna Pumfrey

It’s official, I am one of THOSE couples. Yes, that’s right my friends, my boyfriend and I are now the owners of matching wallets…not only matching wallets but matching wallets with our initials on. If there was the option to add the monkey covering its eyes emoji here, then I would.

BUT, I believe I am saved from being totally tragic as these are mighty fine, responsibly made wallets from Craftory. Craftory are a Tallinn based independent leather workshop designing and crafting portemonnaies (wallets to us English-speaking folk), pouches and sacks.

Launched in 2013 when founders Mihkel, Martin and Timo stumbled upon a bolt of organically tanned leather from Tärnsjö, Sweden and were completely blown away by how it looked and felt. Swedish tannery Tärnsjö, located by a lake deep in the Swedish forest, is the world's only certified organic tannery.

Today most tanneries use chrome which gives a more stable and consistent colour, chrome however is highly damaging for the environment and the material must be recycled as biohazard. Tärnsjö Tannery, founded 140 years ago, still practice traditional vegetable tanning. Their leather has a surface that feels more "alive" and ages to become more beautiful with patina. Read more about the tanning process here.


Swedish Tannery, Tarnsjo.
Swedish Tannery, Tarnsjo.

The boys vision: to make items that are unpretentious, free from tacky additions and made to age.

Without any experience with leather or leather craft the boys set about opening up shop. After refining their skills and creating a booming business at home in Estonia, they set sail (well after a conversation with co-founder Mihkel I feel it was more the less romantic modern day travel option of an early morning Ryanair flight to Stansted but hey-ho) for London to prove that their simple, straightforward approach was greater than the sum of its parts.

And so far, so good for the boys. To date they have been featured by Monocle Magazine, exhibited at the London Design Festival and have just opened their own independent shop and mini-workshop next to Netil Market, 13-23 Westgate Street, E8 3RL.

So, a perfect gift for him or her (for me it started as a gift for him… and ended in a gift for me to), pay Craftory a visit next time you’re in the area. I’d recommend the slim pouchie as the perfect size wallet for ones back pocket.

And if you’re interested in the making process the boys are also offering mini-workshops from the Netil market shop on Saturdays.  

Alternatively, shop online here.