If you read my last blog post, you will know I’m currently overseas receiving treatment, and therefore I will be doing travel related blog posts for the month of October. I’m starting the month off with a product from SewGnar, that I am really excited to share with you. SewGnar is a USA brand that makes handcrafted cork accessories for the eco-conscious consumer. SewGnar is a cruelty free and vegan brand that is certified by PETA. There are a range of handmade cork products available in the shop, including clutches, bags, chequebook covers, passport covers and a variety of wallets like tri-fold, bi-fold, slim and ID pockets. Today I have a review of the SewGnar handmade cork Passport Wallet, which is a great environmentally friendly travel product.
Some quick background, the brand was started in 2011 and was called 2611 Art, but was re-branded to SewGnar, with a Narwhal logo, in January of 2018. SewGnar is a mixture of the words sewing and Narwhal and is also a play on Sonar (the way Narwhals communicate). Nicole has sewn for 20 years and uses cork as the material for all products as it is sustainable. Her favourite product to make is the custom Applique Crossbody Bags. Nicole designs, cuts, sews, photographs, packages and ships everything, so you know you will get a quality product every time. Products are shipped in a recycled, recyclable and biodegradable mailer, which I’ve never seen before, but is such a great idea. I purchased my cork passport wallet from the SewGnar Etsy Page, but the SewGnar website has just launched, so that would be the best place to see all the products that are currently available.
I spent months searching for the perfect passport wallet, and I finally came across the beautiful SewGnar handmade cork products whilst searching through Etsy. The passport wallet I wanted needed to be good quality, so that it didn’t fall apart on me, I would much prefer to spend more on one product and have it last, rather than buy multiple low quality products that don’t last and add more waste to the world because of it. Most passport wallets on the market are made of leather, which is not something I will buy, as there are so many alternatives to using animal skin on the market today. I looked into buying a faux-leather passport wallet but when I stumbled upon cork products, I knew that is the material I wanted. I ended up choosing SewGnar over the other cork passport holders online as multiple colour options were available, and not just the natural cork colouring, which many places will only offer. But more than that, the products were obviously good quality. I’ve taken close up pictures of the logo and stitching so that you can see how meticulously these products are made.
Cork is an amazing material as it is environmentally friendly and renewable. Cork is harvested from the Cork Oak Tree by separating the bark from the main part of the tree. This process allows the Cork Oak to survive, and cork can be harvested from the same tree every 9 years. Cork Oak trees can live for hundreds of years and during that time they will continually absorb CO2 from the atmosphere – which is incredibly important given our current global emissions. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) encourages consumers to choose cork products as Sustainable Cork Oak forests are home to endangered species like the Iberian Lynx and Iberian Imperial Eagle, as well as being a hot spot for biodiversity. Cork is also eco-friendly because it is recyclable and biodegradable, so your cork product won’t hurt the environment when it is time to let it go.
Cork is a great material to use in products like wallets, purses and bags as it waterproof, elastic, anti-microbial, fire resistant, stain resistant, and really easy to clean. When I first saw photos of cork products, they looked really rigid and I wondered how items would fit in, but in person, cork is surprisingly elastic, which works really well for putting things in cork pockets.
I looked at a lot of cork products before deciding to go with the SewGnar Cork Passport Cover. I chose SewGnar as the quality of the products were evident in the pictures on the product listings. Each pocket is meticulously hand sewn and the fasteners are good quality. I chose the passport cover that has the twist lock closure as I love the look of it, but there is also a magnetic snap closure version if you prefer that better. There are two large passport sized pockets and two credit card/business card sized pockets. I can easily fit two passports and multiple cards in my passport wallet. One of the pockets could also be used to carry folded paper money if you wanted everything in one place. I chose to add the RFID blocker to mine for added protection. The colour of my cork passport holder is a deep blue leaning green called Lagoon, which I really like, but there are lots of other cork colours you can choose from if you prefer something else. The cork colours that are currently available on the SewGnar website are natural, grenada, raizes, bambu, black, brown, rust, mint, olive, plum, aqua, denim and lagoon. Every product will be unique as every piece of cork will be unique, so there will be differing natural patterns on the cork between every piece.
I am so glad I found SewGnar in one of my searches as this brand has great values and the products are amazing quality. I am trying to make more sustainable choices when purchasing products, and cork is perfect for that. I know what when I buy a cork product, I am avoiding the extra CO2 that is put into the atmosphere that a synthetic alternative would do, but I am also helping to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and encouraging the survival of cork forests. I can support the habitat of endangered animals and not contribute to factory farming by choosing cork, so it is a material I want to utilise a lot more. I know that when I buy products from SewGnar they will be of the highest quality. Each pocket is carefully hand sewn by Nicole and that attention to detail is obvious when looking at the final product. Buying from SewGnar means I can purchase eco-friendly products whilst also supporting a small business that is trying to make a difference in the world. The products have to be shipped from the USA so shipping isn’t cheap, but the products are absolutely worth the price, and I have asked a couple of Australian businesses if they would be able to stock SewGnar products, which could help reduce the shipping price (I’m really hoping one of them follows through and does stock the brand). I know my passport is safe in the SewGnar Cork Passport Wallet and it was really easy to use when going through all of the airport checks, so I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another if I needed to. You can purchase SewGnar products from the new SewGnar Website or from the SewGnar Etsy Store. If you do buy something, I would love to know what you think of it. Are you trying to make more sustainable choices in your life? I have another cork product review and travel posts coming up soon. If you want to keep up with what I’m posting, you can sign up to email updates to get my blog posts sent to your inbox and you can find me on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.