Traditional, third-generation family business, Finland-based Kokkolan’s flagship product is Nordic elk leather. These wild animals find all of their needed resources in the clean nature that surrounds Kokkolan, a municipality located in Western Finland, where hunting and tannery are time-honored activities.
Mostly hunted for their meat, under strict control of the government, the elk population is kept at sustainable levels and provides a regular supply of skins. Kokkolan sources the hides locally, processes them in their two tanneries, before exporting them to more than 25 countries across the world. “We process 60,000 elk hides a year,” says Kokkolan’s CEO and owner Juha Ornberg, from the company’s booth at the APLF- MM&T fair that was held in Hong Kong from 30 March to 1 April 2016.
Elk skin has a richness that makes it stand out among all other leathers, according to Ornberg. “Despite its thickness, elk leather is extremely soft. Its unique fibre structure provides powerful insulation against cold weather, yet lets it breathe very well in summer,” he explains.
That makes it the ideal material for the production of shoes as well as casual and industrial gloves, which explains the continuing success of Kokkolan with both Finnish and international customers. Still, not content to rest on its laurels, Kokkolan has recently diversified and turned its interest towards a different type of leather.
“Elk provides a limited yet exclusive supply of raw material so we can always find our place in the market,” Ornberg says. ”However, lately we wanted to extend our product line with a leather similar to the elk hides, but with more durability and tensile strength. That is when the yak leather came naturally to us.”