09 September 2013

Cordwain Higgler - Retailer under the Spotlight

Cordwain Higgler is a small family business run by Pat and Guy, based in Eastbourne, East Sussex in the UK. The name for the company comes from medieval England, when a cordwainer was a general worker in leather, and a higgler is a Sussex word for an itinerant salesman. A long standing interest in leather and its history has led them to offer some very special and personalised articles, among which are some rather lovely organisers. Guy is entirely self taught and after making things out of leather for himself and friends for many years, he and his partner Pat decided to trying putting his skills to full time use. The business' ethos is to make simple, functional items with a high aesthetic appeal.

Amongst the many items he makes, Guy decided to revive a project he developed several years before to create an organiser that wasn't generic. Whilst on holiday in Devon, he was lucky enough to track down some reindeer skin that had been brought up from a Dutch wreck which sank in Plymouth Sound in 1786. It was still quite usable (in fact shoes were made from it for Prince Charles) and when he first got it he could still smell the Russian birch tar it had been cured with. He then found an organiser in a charity shop, and used the mechanism and the reindeer skin to make this unique item.


Now, wherever possible, they get their leather from Britain's last oak bark tannery and this traditional process takes a year to eighteen months to tan a hide and produces wonderful leather that is exceptionally good to work with. The organisers are made of 2 1/2 to 3 mm leather, and once cut is coloured and the strap attached to rivets. The strap is a clever one piece design which also takes a pen. The mechanisms are standard Filofax pocket or personal size, so you can easily refill it with paper from Cordwain Higgler or the high street. Each item is entirely hand made, and the leather is hand cut, stamped, dyed and polished with wax they make from hives around Beachy Head.

Napoleonic bee and hive design in buckskin colour

Napoleonic bee design in cordovan colour
Their latest dandelion design has proven to be very popular, as fast as the organisers could be made they were selling, with custom orders to make them in the personal size as well. Popular colours have been purple, ox-blood red, kelly green, buckskin (see the above picture in the bee and hive design), cordovan (see picture above) and yellow.


Each organiser comes with a starter pack of papers, printed on recycled paper, and other specialist papers are available e.g for the gardener or wine taster. The company post world wide and many of their items can be customised, with probably 85% of their customers asking for personalisation (at no extra charge) in the form of initials or to have their names added. It is also possible to have a different colour or design from another of their items, or they will apply any logo or design for a business, club or special event. They are always open to new ideas for new designs.

Thank you very much to Cordwain Higgler for providing details about their company, and they have also very kindly loaned me a pocket and personal organiser to review.

As a special offer valid until 31st December 2013, enter the promo code PR1 at the checkout to get 10% off your order (postage not included in discount).

24 comments:

  1. Ooh, these products look delicious!

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  2. I really like these. Would love to own one.

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  3. I always thought an organizer from reindeer skin would be the organizer of dreams. Reindeer leather is most soft, almost silky to touch and naturally very light. Naturally any treatments will have an effect on the leather but still, I´ve never seen any leather like reindeer. Its very character is entirely different.

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  4. I love these natural crafted binters! Very appealing to my love of natural and real value creations. Thanks a lot for sharing :-)

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  5. I clicked the link thinking these would be really expensive but was very pleasantly surprised! I really like the dandelion one.

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  6. Really love the dandelion one, but Iam an A5 gal. xx

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    1. If you are interested in A5, it might be worth getting in contact (details on their website) as they are very open to customising items & may consider making the A5 size for you :)

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    2. That is very interesting.... might contact them regarding personal size....

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    3. Hi Deborah-Jane,
      I found this on my second look - regarding personal size: http://www.cordwainhiggler.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=107

      Here you can find the same designs as given for the pocket version - but with reference to the personal size.

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    4. and see their Personal Organizers are very affordable with £32.50 each! I now need to think as to wheather I shall order one as a gift and ask for the postage fee to Germany - as my organiser collection is already too extensive ;-)

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    5. Hello this is Pat from Cordwain Higgler! Thank you everyone for your very kind comments regarding our organisers.
      We are offering a flat rate worldwide postage fee of £3-00. this is regardless of how ever many items are purchased in a single transaction.

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    6. Hi Pat, thanks very much :-) I think that together with Anita's more in depth review will attract even more lovers of these beautiful organisers!

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  7. I'm in love...my problem is which colour, any chance of a picture of the inside of the personal and the pocket please Pat or Guy xxx

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    1. Hi Deborah-Jane,
      My review will have pictures of the inside of the personal & pocket sizes.

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  8. These look fab - I've just ordered one!

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  9. Ooh - check out those hip flasks too - lovely!!!

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  10. They are gorgeous! Sadly they have no shipping options either to the Philippines (where I'm currently at) or to the US (where most of my shipping orders are sent to).

    :|

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    1. Oops! I just refreshed my browser and now they have some shipping options! :)

      I have an order in my cart (pocket sized lunar moth in blue) now and just waiting for my bank to confirm that I still have credit left. Have been err splurging on stuff for my Holborn personal

      By the way, when can we see the insides of the Cordwain Higgler personal organizers?

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    2. Hi Karen,
      I've just checked & my review is scheduled in for next Monday the 16th. I have taken a photo of the inside of both the personal & pocket sizes.

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    3. I'm going to sit tight until your review Anita....

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    4. Thanks Anita :) Looking forward to your review :)

      And I already ordered the pocket-sized Cordwain Higgler with the lunar moth design.

      Buying online sometimes makes me feel guilty, but this is one purchase that really, really made me feel good sans the guilt. :)

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    5. could you put up the ring size on both personal and pocket thank you Anita...

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