Preconception about cork longevity:
Cork in the fashion industry is still a relatively unknown material. If you already sell cork products, you have probably heard your customers asking questions related with product’s longevity, resistance to water, or in the case of footwear if your foot breathes well or not. These are common doubts for those who still know nothing about cork. What about you, do you know the products you sell well enough? Do you know how in your store or website you can convince without any doubts about the resistance or authenticity of your cork products?
the origin of this misconception
The preconception about the longevity of cork as a material for use in fashion is due in a first stage due to the lack of knowledge about the natural characteristics of this material. Naturally cork has intrinsic advantages such as impermeability, heat resistance, impact resistance, hypoallergenic, breathable, we could add a few more… However, the characteristics of this material can change as soon as it becomes a “fabric or leather” . If you do not know much about cork in a first instance you probably won’t be able to say the differences.
- Development in major tourist centres:
As a result of the great development of the Tourism industry in the last 10 years in Portugal, and taking advantage of the uniqueness of this material, the sale of products with this material has grown exponentially – the demand for the best price has led to an oversight in quality. In Portugal, cork products are found in street markets, souvenir shops… in every corner.
The problem? Lack of quality control and products from China and other Asian markets. They may look similar and sometimes even more natural and raw looklike but in a long term they will easily break.
The case of footwear
Cork shoes are perhaps the most “vulnerable” product made of cork. Footwear is probably the most easily worn piece of our clothing – it is constantly exposed to contact, dirt, pressure, subject to moisture and exposure to rain or sun. Therefore, when buying shoes must be carried out with some care, and we must be able to be transparent, reliable and pass on the correct information to our potential customer. So when the customer asks you about the quality of your cork footwear, what can you answer and prove her/him the authenticity of what you’re selling?
SHOW YOUR PROOFS
In the case of footwear, it is essential that the products are tested in the laboratory so that tests for resistance, impermeability, elasticity are carried out and the longevity of the product can be guaranteed both to you, as a seller, than to your customer. Small artisans make everything from cork bags, key rings, and even shoes. However, when we talk about footwear, the quality of the product is often little assured, cheaper materials are used, and although at first glance the product may look good, over time the cork is more likely to break or the sole to wear out too fast. Most of the times less really means less..
Present a certificate that confirms the quality of the cork. Few companies are still able to present a certificate that proves the longevity and nature of their cork. One of the certificates that convey safety to the consumer is the Cork Mark® certificate – awarded only to cork products whose authenticity is duly tested by the Confédération Européene du Liège (C.E.Liège), in partnership with the European Forestry Commission.
The Treec case
At Treec we proudly test and only use certificated materials at our shoes. We want to offer shoes that last and can be a companion for several years. When we sell something that makes your customer happy you know there is a good change he will comeback to you – this what we offer a Treec: transparency, trust, a good partnership between us, the producer, you the seller, and your customer.