Modern tanning, of mass produced leather, is widely known to be extremely damaging to the environment. Nepali Buffalo leather is different. Made by rural villagers in the Himalayan Mountains, traditional vegetable tanning methods are used – making these bags one of the most environmentally friendly leather products you can buy.
Villagers buy Buffalo skins from surrounding communities which helps to distribute much needed income.
Step 2: 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 a rich natural colour.
Step3: 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.
Step 5: The softened leather is now ready to slice with a tool called a “Bagh”. The Bagh is used to slice off excess material to reduce thickness of the hide. Rough edges are also trimmed at this point. A skilled trimmer can finish 2 – 3 hides in a day.
Finally, after 45 days, we have Buffalo leather ready to make bags from.