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Where does cork come from?
Cork is the bark of the Cork Oak tree, which grows naturally in all countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea. The vast majority of the world's cork comes from Portugal, with Spain coming in second, followed by Italy, Tunisia, France, Morocco, and Algeria. In Portugal, cork mainly grows in the southern region of Alentejo. The Cork Oak is protected by law in Portugal against being cut down or harvested out of season, as the tree plays an integral role in the culture and economy.
Does cork harvesting harm the Cork Oak?
No! Cork bark is carefully removed from the Cork Oak with a specialized hand-axe by trained professionals, without harming the tree in any way. The harvesting of cork bark ensures that cork forests are taken care of and maintained. Also, this removal of the tree's outer layer of bark allows the tree to begin a regeneration process, where it is able to produce more oxygen and absorb more CO2 than before the harvest. This harvesting also extends the lifespan of the tree.
Is cork endangered?
Not at all! The Cork Oak is not an endangered species, although cork forests are home to hundreds of endangered species that would not survive outside of these ecosystems. This seems to be a widely diffused myth, but in fact, cork oaks are in no way threatened. Harvesting the bark from the cork oaks actually benefits the health of the tree and the cork forests. You can read more about this topic in our blog article "Myths About Cork - Exposed!"
Where do your cork products come from?
Our products are sourced from ethical and sustainable brands located in Portugal, France, Germany, Spain, the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. Our brands all produce their handmade cork items from high-quality Portuguese cork. You can read about each of the brands whose products we carry in our store on our Artisans Page.
Is cork durable and/or water-resistant?
Yes, cork is both durable and water-resistant! Cork can be compared to genuine leather in terms of its durability, and is known to "break in" and "gain personality" much like their cow-leather counterparts - with none of the animal cruelty and environmental harm.
Cork is also naturally water-resistant without the need to use any resins to seal the material. This is due to cork's natural cellular structure, which consists largely of a wax-based substance, that keeps water, moisture, dirt, dust, and mold from being absorbed into the material. You can read more about the unique properties of cork on our page "What is Cork?"
How is the cork fabric dyed?
Cork leather is dyed using plant-derived, water-based, and non-toxic dyes to achieve beautifully colored hues.
Does my cork bag need to be treated?
No! There is no need to treat your cork bags or accessories with any additional products. Just a quick and simple occasional cleaning with soap and water is all that it takes to keep your cork items in prime condition. (Note: Cork yoga mats should be cleaned and left to air after each use.)
How do you clean cork?
To clean cork products, just use a cloth dipped in either warm water alone or slightly soapy warm water, and lightly clean the material in a circular motion until all visible dirt is removed.
Are the products at HowCork completely vegan?
Yes! All of the products sold at HowCork are 100% vegan and Certified Vegan by PETA. You can read more about the PETA Approved Vegan Certification in our article "HowCork is PETA Approved Vegan!"
How does cork compare to leather?
Cork has all of the qualities that one would expect from genuine leather, in terms of its durability over time, improvement with continued use, and smooth and soft texture. However, cork is very different from leather in terms of its production methods. Cork comes from the bark of a tree, not the skin of an animal, and therefore is a cruelty-free material. It also does not cause any pollution or waste in its life-cycle from bark to bag, which cannot be said for leather. Find out the whole story here in our article "Cork vs. Leather."
How does cork compare to other vegan leathers?
Cork is one of the most natural, beautiful, and durable vegan leather options on the market today. Many "vegan leathers" are made from synthetic petrochemical-derived fabrics such as PU or PVC, which while not directly harming animals, is still not environmentally friendly. Cork holds up extremely well over time, with a longevity comparable to genuine leather. Not only is it one of the most durable vegan leathers available, it is entirely made from plant material and does not require any chemical coatings on the material to keep it from breaking down. You can read more in depth on this subject in our article "What is Vegan Leather?"
What are your shipping rates?
We use calculated shipping rates to determine the cost of shipping for each individual order. When you place an order, you can choose your preferred courier between USPS and UPS (as well as DHL for international orders), and your shipping costs will be calculated by using the weight of your package (based on item and box weight) and the distance from our location in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to you. You can read more on our Shipping & Tracking page.
Do you have a physical store location?
Currently, we only have an online store! However, if you are in the South Florida area, we may be coming to a pop-up venue near you in the future!
Is there someone that I can talk to if I have any questions?
Absolutely! Just reach out on our live chat, send us an email, or give us a call and we will respond as quickly as we can. We are available from 8 am - 8 pm EST to help if you have any questions or if you would just like to talk to a real person!
Why should I shop at HowCork?
HowCork brings the most authentic, handmade, and natural cork bags, wallets, accessories, and yoga mats straight from our favorite brands from around the world to you. Cork is an integral part of the Portuguese culture and economy, and we think it deserves the same level of recognition and use in the whole world!
In our store, you can find a curated collection of high-quality cork products from 15 incredible brands all in one place. Shop with confidence knowing that everything in our store is vegan and ethically made. We ship worldwide from our small Florida storeroom location, and offer free US shipping on orders over $75.
By shopping at HowCork, you are supporting the health of the cork forests of the Mediterranean, the individual artisans behind the brands who make the products in our store, and our small, family-run company.
Do you offer returns if I do not like my product?
Yes! If you are not satisfied with your purchase for any reason, you can send it back for a full refund! However, return shipping costs are the responsibility of the customer. See our Returns and Refunds page for more details about how to request to return an item.
Is there a warranty on my purchases from HowCork?
All of our bags and wallets made by Corkor have a two year guarantee in the case of manufacturing or material defects, as long as the product has been properly used and has not been altered in any way. However, natural imperfections in cork itself are normal and not considered a defect.
If you receive any item from our store that is damaged upon arrival, we will send you another one free of charge.