A Guide for Leather Bag Wholesalers/ Importers – What Is Vegan Leather?

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The fashion industry has woken up to the fact that we need to care for our environment. That has resulted in the invention of a better way of doing things. One example of this is vegan leather.

Importers and wholesalers must know about an alternative to genuine leather. It is vegan leather! This type of leather is made from plant-based sources, making it a cruelty-free option. The sources include pineapple leaves, apple peels, and even recycled materials. You should import bags made from vegan leather since they are trending these days.

This leather is also made from agricultural wastes or oak bark. There is a big enough market for vegan leather products. That’s because vegan leather is environmentally friendly and does not cause animal cruelty.

What Is Vegan Leather?

Vegan leather is also famous by the names like faux leather or artificial leather. It is an eco-friendly and inexpensive alternative to traditional leather made from animal skins. There are several types of vegan leather, each made from different materials.

Its two main varieties are synthetic and plant-based. Synthetic options, like polyurethane (PU), are generally more affordable and durable. Likewise, plant-based options, like cork or pineapple leaf leather, have a sustainable advantage. This variety allows for various textures, appearances, and functionalities. It proves there’s perfect vegan leather for every need.

What Are The Types Of Vegan Leather?

There are several leather materials available, but only vegan leather is eco-friendly. However, vegan leather is made from different materials. These materials are;

1) Eco-friendly Polyurethane (Pu) Leather

Pu leather is an imitation of the genuine leather. It is made from thermoplastic polymer. It is used to make furniture, shoes, bags, and wallets.

This type of leather has two different layers, top and bottom. The bottom layer is made from polyester to make it sturdy and durable. The top part is covered with polyurethane.

This combination makes the leather look shiny and smooth. It also makes the leather look more like genuine leather.

To make the right decision when buying Pu leather, below are its pros and cons;

Polyurethane Leather
Advantages Disadvantages
  • This type is more affordable than genuine leather.
  • The leather is easy to clean, and it does not absorb water.
  • Pu leather is 100% vegan, which makes it eco-friendly.
  • Pu leather products come in different colors and styles.
  • It is more sustainable to make the Pu leather.
  • Pu leather is not breathable compared to animal leather
  • Many people dislike the smell of plastics and chemicals in Pu leather.
  • The material is not durable.
  • Pu leather is not biodegradable because of the plastics.

2) Plant-based leather

Plant-based leather is also known as eco-leather. This type of leather is made from agricultural waste. This waste is pineapple leaves, mushrooms, cactus, and apple peels. Plant-based leather was invented because of the demand for eco-friendly leather.

This type of leather has brought a real revolution in the fashion industry. Each type of plant used in making leather has its specific processing. Each plant material has reduced the plant to fibers and mixed them with binding agents. The process gives the leather the same appearance and texture as animal leather.

Pineapple leaf leather

It is a popular plant-based vegan leather made from waste fibers from pineapple leaves. It is a sustainable and durable material.

Mushroom leather

It is a new type of vegan leather made from mycelium. It is a root structure of mushrooms. This leather is a sustainable material with the potential to revolutionize the fashion industry.

Apple leather

This type of vegan leather is made from apple cores and peels that would otherwise be thrown away. It is a sustainable option, but the production process is still developing.

Corn Skin Leather

Corn skin leather is a sustainable and innovative material made from the by-products of corn processing. It is a type of bio-based leather alternative that utilizes the husks, stalks, and other non-edible parts of the corn plant.

Cactus Leather

Cactus leather, also known as “Desserto,” is a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional animal leather. It is made from the leaves of the Nopal (prickly pear) cactus.

Plant-based Leather
Advantages Disadvantages
• Plant-based leather bags are lightweight and flexible.

• The leather material is also long-lasting.

• Plant-based leather is eco-friendly.

• The leather is just as durable as animal hide leather.

• Eco-leather can be made in different styles and colors.

• It can peel or crack quickly compared to animal leather.

• Unavailable more often. That’s because only a few companies are producing plant-based leather.

• Plant-based leather can stretch over time.

3) Cork Leather

Cork leather is extracted from the bark of the cork oak tree. It is also known as natural cork fabric. 80% of the world’s cork comes from the Mediterranean region of Europe.

On the other hand, the most high-quality cork is produced in China and India. The oak trees must be over 25 years old for the farmers to harvest the cork. Even so, the trees are vested every nine years.

After harvesting oak barks, they are left to air dry for six months. After that, they are dried and boiled in water to clean them and enhance their unique quality. The oaks are then cut into pieces and dyed.

Sometimes, it is left with its natural color. It is then finished by attaching the fabric to a backing like cotton or polyester.

The cork leather is then sprayed with sealant or fabric protection. That helps to provide leather with stain resistance.

Cork   Leather
Advantages Disadvantages
• Cork leather is water-resistant and flame-resistant.

• Cork leather products are lightweight to carry.

• The material is eco-friendly since oak is natural.

• Cork leather is sustainable and does not harm the tree during extraction.

• The leather is also durable, comfortable, and not prone to wear and tear.

• Cork leather is versatile since it can be used to make various products.

• It is not as strong   as genuine leather

• Sometimes, it is backed with polyurethane that is not biodegradable.

What Are the Benefits of Vegan Leather?

Vegan leather has many benefits, from being animal cruelty-free to being eco-friendly. Here are some of the top benefits of vegan leather.

1) Versatility in design and color

Many believe vegan leather cannot be used to make different bag designs.

However, that is not the case. Fake leather is used to make different bags in varying styles. It can make tote handbags, crossbody handbags, and backpacks.

These bags are also made in various colors, like brown, blue, purple, green, etc.

2) Ethical Consideration

A true vegan doesn’t keep quiet when it comes to animal cruelty. Traditional leather uses hides, which involves slaughtering animals.

Vegan leather is made from materials that don’t involve killing any animal. Buying genuine leather supports cruelty against animals. While vegan leather stands against the act.

3) Environment Impact

Most of the vegan leather products are environmentally friendly. Plant-based leather is the most eco-friendly because it is made from agricultural waste.

However, vegan leather like PVC and PU is not eco-friendly. During their processing, they emit into the air. These toxins may cause development and reproduction issues or even cancer.

4) Cost-Effectiveness

Vegan leather products are cheaper compared to genuine leather. However, the prices range from the material used to make it.

Plant-based leather is the most affordable since agricultural waste matures less. The cost of vegan leather products also depends on the brand name.

What Factors Should Wholesalers/Importers Consider about Vegan Leather?

Importing any product to a country is not a long process. First, you have to identify the products you want to import. The second part is looking for the best supplier of the products you wish to import.

You also need to understand the import market well. Depending on the country you are in, some rules guide this whole process.

There are various factors you should consider before importing your vegan leather products. They are;

1) Import Regulations

You must adhere to the rules and regulations when importing vegan leather bags. First of all, you must have proper licenses and a compliance certificate.

It will let you import leather products and ship them with a lot of ease. After getting the licenses, you must get customs clearance and pay your taxes. It will help you release your products by customs.

You will also have to obtain an electronic import expert code. You will have to make sure your products comply with the customs rules.

2) Storage and Handling

You should have the storage facility ready. You need to store them properly before you start the distribution process. Ensure the facility is safe, spacious, and has the perfect temperature.

The bags must be kept in perfect condition to ensure they are not damaged. You will also be prompted to check the products for any damages during shipping.

After that, you should count the bags delivered to ensure you have the right products. Last but not least, you should start the record-keeping process.

You should also look for a suitable mode of transport from customs to storage facilities. These will help protect your bags from damage that might cause you to incur losses.

3) Marketing Vegan Leather

After your bags are stored in perfect condition, the next step is to look for customers. For this to happen, you must reach out to them through marketing.

The vegan leather bags market is sizeable enough. That’s because of the rising demand for environmentally safe products. To get to your target market, you will have to consider the following factors;

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location

You can use different social media platforms to get to the potential customers. You can also check your competition’s social media platforms.

It will help you create better outreach posts and improve your brand. You can also reach them through content and email marketing.

How to Find Reliable Vegan Leather Products Suppliers?

When choosing suitable leather product suppliers, you should be very careful. That’s because there are a lot of fake suppliers all over. Here is how to find reliable leather product suppliers.

1) Identifying Reputable Suppliers

A reputable vegan leather bag supplier delivers premium products quickly. This should be the case for all the products and times you order from them. That will earn them returning and loyal customers.

A reputable supplier like Mherder will also help you keep up with marketing trends. They should also offer their customers discounts as they continue to order from them.

2) Check the Quality of Products

The quality of your products is critical because customers will surely notice it. It doesn’t matter how colorful or trendy your bags are. As long as the quality is wanting, this will affect your business negatively.

It makes choosing a reliable supplier with high-quality products paramount. You will have to inspect the bag keenly to look for any errors and the stitching of the bags. It will be time to look at the quality of leather.

3) Ensure Better Pricing and Minimum Order Quantities

The minimum order is the smallest number of bags set by suppliers for their customers. The order quantities are set differently from minor to largest.

Most of the time, importers who buy many products pay less for a single item. The importer taking fewer products will end up paying more for the item.

You should look for the supplier with the lowest prices on premium quality bags.

It will be important when pricing your products to earn more profit. At the same time, it also allows you to set competitive prices.

4) Confirm Prompt Lead Time and Delivery Assurance

Lead times are the time it will take suppliers to deliver the bags. The whole time starts from production selection to when the products are ready.

A reliable supplier will also provide you with a tracking system. It will help you stay updated with the delivery of your product.

This process is referred to as delivery assurance. The system gives the importer the confidence that the supplier is reliable.

5) Check After-Sales Services

After-sales services are an essential part of any B2B transactions. The services can include;

  • Free warranty
  • Packaging
  • Telephone-follow up
  • Thank you notes
  • Return and exchange policy
  • Listening to customers

It helps build strong relationships and trust between suppliers and importers.

Final Thoughts!

Vegan leather is here to stay. The market and demand for these products is growing every single day.

That’s because it helps to reduce animal cruelty. Vegan leather products can be as sturdy, durable, and reliable as genuine leather.

Now, you know the various types of vegan leather available. If you need further guidance in selecting the best leather products, feel free to reach out to Mherder.

Mandy Chou 

Hi, I’m the author of this post, and I have been in this field for more than 18 years. If you have any inquiries about Leather bags and Leather goods, pls feel free to ask me any questions.

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