You’ve got the perfect leather bag and as everyone knows, there’s nothing quite like the look and feel of this fashion accessory. It simply makes its owner look and feel… well…good! And, in many cases, even GREAT! Perhaps that is a generalization but those odds do increase dramatically if you’ve chosen a leather handbag designed by one of the many talented NOVICA artisans from around the globe. With unique and creative designs to decide from, you can’t go wrong with choice or style. The only way you can possibly slip up, is if you don’t know how to properly care for your treasured piece. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to caring for your leather handbag:

First, make sure you know whether your item is leather or suede. While the base material is the same, the care for each is not interchangeable. Leather is by definition: “animal skin that is chemically treated to preserve it and is used to make clothes, shoes, furniture, etc.” Suede is defined as “soft leather that has been rubbed on one side to make a surface that looks and feels like velvet.” This ‘Wave of Yellow’ handbag from Marisol Monge in El Salvador is a perfect example. It’s crafted from durable leather, however, the texture is more delicate to the touch; such as suede.

Artisan Crafted Yellow and Blue Leather Open Tote Bag, 'Wave of Yellow'

In order to properly care for that soft-as-velvet plush surface, you may want to consider investing in a suede brush. These are specifically designed to dust off any dirt or debris that may adhere to your bag. As with any leather-based product, having a suede or leather protectant on hand is also a good idea. There are many on the market from which to choose.

Secondly, let’s talk about keeping your leather looking good and protecting it against wrinkling, flaking or cracking. Keep in mind that leather can easily absorb oils, so take care to handle your purse or handbag with clean hands. Of course, if your go-to leather bag is this classic men’s messenger bag, designed by Peruvian artisan, Patsy Chang, there’s a good chance it’s getting a lot of use. That means it may collect a bit of dust from usual wear and tear.

 Brown Leather Men's Messenger Bag, 'Explorer' Shoulder Tablet Bag Artisan Handcrafted NOVICA Fair Trade

It’s best to use a cleaner designed specifically for leather products and follow instructions for use from the manufacturer. Leather conditioner/moisturizer is another accessory product to help care for your bag. Commit to cleaning and moisturizing twice a year to keep your handbag looking sharp!


The final aspect to think about is the proper storage of your handbag. You’ll want to keep your leather products away from heat or sun. Always clean your items before putting them away, and to ensure a bag keeps its original shape, consider stuffing it with bubble wrap, or other clean packing material. It’s also a good idea to consider wrapping your bag in sheets of white paper, a white pillow case or towel to protect the material.

Leather Tote Handbag from Indonesia, 'Urban Safari in Dark Brown'

Bottom line: take great care of your leather handbags and they’ll help YOU look fabulous!