Home > Case: a mycelium leather wallet

Case: a mycelium leather wallet

Mycelium Leather Wallet
Art concept of a mycelium leather wallet

Why replace leather?

One of the main issues with the leather industry is the pollution it causes. The tanning process uses harmful chemicals that can pollute the air and water. These chemicals can have negative effects on the health of people and animals, as well as damage the natural environment.

In addition to pollution, the leather industry is also a major contributor to climate change. The production of leather requires a significant amount of energy and resources, which can result in greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions contribute to global warming and climate change.

The leather industry also raises concerns about animal welfare. The vast majority of leather is produced from the hides of cows, which are often raised in factory farm conditions. These conditions can be cruel and inhumane, with animals being kept in small, crowded pens and not being given enough space to move around.

In conclusion, the leather industry has negative impacts on the environment, animal welfare, and human health. It is important that consumers are aware of these impacts and consider alternatives to leather products.

What makes the tanning process so polluting?

The tanning process, which is used to turn animal hides into leather, is a major contributor to pollution. There are several reasons why this process is so polluting:

  1. Chemical use: The tanning process involves the use of a variety of chemicals, including chromium, which is a known carcinogen. These chemicals can be harmful to both human health and the environment if they are not properly handled and disposed of.
  2. Water pollution: The tanning process generates large amounts of wastewater, which can contain high levels of chemicals and other pollutants. This wastewater is often released into rivers, streams, and other bodies of water, causing water pollution and potentially harming aquatic life.
  3. Air pollution: The tanning process can also produce air pollution, as some of the chemicals used in the process can be released into the air. This can have negative impacts on both human health and the environment.
  4. Land pollution: The tanning process generates a large amount of solid waste, such as sludge and other by-products, which can be difficult to dispose of in an environmentally-friendly manner. This can lead to land pollution, as well as other environmental problems.
Photo: Daniel Lanteigne. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND.

Overall, the tanning process is a major contributor to pollution due to its use of chemicals, water pollution, air pollution, and land pollution. It is important for companies involved in the tanning industry to take steps to minimize their environmental impacts and ensure that they are operating in a sustainable manner.

Where can we replace leather?

What products are typically made of leather:

  1. Shoes and boots
  2. Belts and wallets
  3. Jackets and coats
  4. Handbags and purses
  5. Furniture (e.g. sofas and chairs)
  6. Gloves and hats
  7. Saddles and harnesses for horses
  8. Baseballs and other sports equipment
  9. Book covers and binders
  10. Musical instrument cases (e.g. for guitars)

Leather is a durable and flexible material that is commonly used to make a wide variety of products. It is made by tanning animal hides, typically from cows, pigs, goats, or sheep. The process of tanning the hide preserves it and makes it suitable for use in the production of various items.

Belts and wallets

The global market for Leather Wallets and Purses estimated at US$37.7 Billion in the year 2020

In the changed post-COVID-19 business landscape, the global market for Leather Wallets and Purses estimated at US$37.7 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$59.7 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 6.8% over the period 2020-2027.

The U.S. Market is Estimated at $10.3 Billion, While China is Forecast to Grow at 10.4% CAGR

The Leather Wallets and Purses market in the U.S. is estimated at US$10.3 Billion in the year 2020. China, the world`s second-largest economy, is forecast to reach a projected market size of US$12.7 Billion by the year 2027 trailing a CAGR of 10.4% over the analysis period 2020 to 2027. Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 4.2% and 5.6% respectively over the 2020-2027 period. Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 5.1% CAGR.

What’s the best-selling wallet on Amazon.com

Swot – Mycelium leather


  • Mycelium leather is a sustainable alternative to traditional leather, as it is made from the root structure of mushrooms. This means it does not require the use of animal hides and does not contribute to the pollution and environmental damage associated with the leather industry.
  • Mycelium leather is also biodegradable, meaning that it will break down naturally when disposed of, unlike traditional leather which can take decades to decompose.
  • Mycelium leather can be produced in a variety of colors and textures, allowing for more design options and flexibility in the creation of wallets and other products.


  • Mycelium leather is not as well-known or widely available as traditional leather, which could limit its appeal to consumers.
  • It may be more expensive to produce mycelium leather compared to traditional leather, which could make wallets made from mycelium leather more expensive for consumers.
  • Mycelium leather is not as durable as traditional leather, which could be a concern for some consumers looking for a long-lasting wallet.


  • The demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products is growing, and mycelium leather could be positioned as a viable alternative to traditional leather in the market.
  • Mycelium leather could be marketed as a cruelty-free option for consumers who are looking for leather products that do not involve animal exploitation.
  • The unique qualities of mycelium leather could be used to create new and innovative wallet designs that stand out from traditional leather wallets.


  • Traditional leather is a well-established and widely-used material in the production of wallets and other products, and it may be difficult for mycelium leather to compete with it.
  • There may be skepticism or resistance from consumers towards mycelium leather, as it is a relatively new and untested material.
  • The availability and consistency of mycelium leather as a raw material could be a challenge, as it is not as widely produced as traditional leather.

Product Market Fit

  1. Innovative material
  2. Sustainable and eco-friendly products

Innovative material

  1. Focus on the benefits of the new material: Highlight the unique properties of the new material and how it improves the product in some way. This could be its durability, sustainability, or other key features.
  2. Position the product as a premium offering: If the new material is more expensive or difficult to work with, you can position the product as a high-end offering and target consumers who are willing to pay a premium for quality.
  3. Use influencer marketing: Partner with influencers or industry experts who can help spread the word about your product. They can provide valuable endorsements and help you reach a wider audience.
  4. Offer discounts or special promotions to early adopters: One way to encourage people to try your product is to offer discounts or other promotions to early adopters. This can help you build buzz and get more people interested in your product.
  5. Use social media and content marketing: Share images and videos of your product on social media and create blog content that showcases its features and benefits. This can help you reach a larger audience and generate interest in your product.

Consumers who are willing to pay a premium for quality are often those who place a high value on the things they buy and are willing to spend more money to get a product that meets their expectations. This can include people who are:

  • Wealthy and have disposable income to spend on premium products
  • Highly educated and have a greater appreciation for quality
  • Professionals or business people who rely on the products they use to be reliable and efficient
  • Health and wellness enthusiasts who prioritize natural, organic, or eco-friendly products
  • Fashion-conscious individuals who prioritize style and design
  • Consumers who are passionate about a particular hobby or activity and are willing to invest in high-quality gear to support it

Sustainable and eco-friendly products

  1. Highlight the sustainability and eco-friendly aspects of mycelium leather in marketing materials. Emphasize that it is a natural, renewable resource and does not contribute to the pollution and environmental damage associated with the traditional leather industry.
  2. Leverage the unique qualities of mycelium leather, such as its ability to be produced in a variety of colors and textures, to create unique and eye-catching wallet designs.
  3. Position mycelium leather as a cruelty-free option for consumers who are looking for leather products that do not involve animal exploitation.
  4. Partner with influencers and eco-conscious brands to promote the use of mycelium leather and showcase the benefits of using it in wallet production.
  5. Use targeted advertising and social media campaigns to reach potential customers who are interested in sustainable and eco-friendly products.
  6. Create educational content, such as blog posts and videos, to inform consumers about mycelium leather and its advantages over traditional leather.
  7. Participate in trade shows and events focused on sustainability and eco-friendly products to showcase the mycelium leather wallet and generate interest among potential buyers.

Material benefits of mycelium leather

Companies that produce Mycelium leather

  • Forager
  • Bolt Threads
Mylo – 30 Dollars per square foot – Dan Widmaier

Mycelium leather wallet concepts

Ways to optimize the production process

The traditional fabrication process of leather wallets

First, the leather is cut to size and shape using a die cutter or laser cutter. The edges of the leather are then smoothed and finished by hand using tools like a beveler, edger, and skiver.

Next, the wallet is assembled by attaching the various pieces of leather together using hand-sewn stitching or a sewing machine. This process can be time-consuming, as each stitch must be precise and even to ensure the wallet is strong and durable.

Once the wallet is fully assembled, it is inspected for any defects or imperfections. Any necessary touch-ups or repairs are made at this stage.

Finally, the wallet is treated with a conditioner or wax to protect the leather and give it a polished, finished look.

The production of a leather wallet is a combination of art and craftsmanship, with each step requiring care and attention to detail. The result is a durable, high-quality product that will last for years to come.

Compared to the traditional fabrication process of leather wallets, working with mycelium leather could simplify the process, making it more competitive.