An Excerpt from a Current ColsenKeane Customer's letter of appreciation:
"When I was young, my dad used to have a pair of leather shoes that he loved. The thing about these shoes that always amazed me was that he had been wearing them for 'going on 10 years' (as he always put it).
My mom later told me that he had been wearing the same shoes for closer to 20 years and that he was more in love with those shoes than he cared to admit. I used to wonder how he kept his shoes in such pristine condition. I once asked him what his secret was, and he told me 'the leather does most of the work. I just take care of the rest.' While this answer was really cool and made for good storytelling, I was still woefully unprepared when I bought my first leather pouch."
The First Thing You Need To Know Is…
Understand the type of leather that you are carrying. This means understanding the quality of the leather and the grain that makes up your piece. Learn more about leather types in our previous post. One of the best qualities of full-grain leather ( the cut we use in our workshops) is that it is exceptionally high quality and requires very little maintenance before it starts developing a beautiful aged and worn-in look.
What Is A Patina and Why Should You Care About It?
Your leather's patina occurs from everyday usage. With full-grain leather, you don't need to use any fancy chemicals or treatments to get a gorgeous sheen and hue on your leather. You just have to use it. That means taking your leather satchel with you on a road trip. Letting it sit in the sun next to you. Every time you accidentally brush the leather up against another object, rough or smooth, you are helping your bag develop its own character. This is what we mean when we say your purse, belt, or wallet "marks to touch."
All of these different interactions help tell your story through the lens of your daily companion.
What is the absolute bare minimum you should do to maintain your bag and keep your natural patina going?
Remember, with full-grain leather goods, very little maintenance is required to keep your leather looking good.
There is a delicate tightrope you have to walk when cleaning your bag. The golden rule for full-grain leather is to use a microfiber cloth & very, very veerrrryyyyy mild soap. Wet the cloth and wring it out. You do not want a soaking wet cloth for this. When you apply the fabric to the leather, just dab it. Don't use too much pressure or rub the leather too vigorously. When cleaning your leather, you want to be careful about not warping the leather so let it dry naturally AWAY from direct sunlight or lamps and heaters.
Lastly, don't sweat the nicks & scrapes.
Full-grain leather is supposed to show touch marks and has natural imperfections. Your leather grows, changes, and evolves with you. You continually add your character and your energy into your bag.
This happens every time you touch it.
The oils from your hand get absorbed into the pores of the leather. The indent caused by the pressure of your touch gets recorded into the bag. All of these microtransactions seem almost minuscule at the moment. Still, over time they create a gorgeous patina that in many ways symbolizes a full-grain mosaic to represent fragments of your life and the many adventures you have been through.