Bole anders sandlund

is a Swedish tannery and leather goods brand, with a beautifully made product and unique selling point.

Böle is the last remaining spruce-bark tannery in the world. Leather is often tanned with a variety of barks in combination, particularly oak and chestnut in Europe. Good shoes have oak-bark-tanned soles, of which there is only one left in the UK (J&FJ Barker). In southern Sweden oak is also a common tanning material, but Böle is in the north of the country, in Pitea. There’s it’s all spruce trees. 

Monika BoleBole bag hinge

So how is spruce-tanned leather different? It’s a little warmer and lighter in colour than most veg-tanned leathers, and has fewer tannins. It is also more flexible, although northern Swedish tanneries traditionally use heavy cow hides, which give it a little more stiffness.

“Spruce is more of a clean finish. It creates a very pure, pale colour,” says Jan Sandlund – master tanner and the third generation of the family to run the company, whom I met earlier in the year (pictured above). “Of course, we’re biased given it grows all around us, but we think it is a beautiful leather, and now of course very rare.”

Historically, Böle has used its leather to make a range of things, but launched briefcases in the 1980s. It is best known for its Minister’s briefcase (below), which is sold alongside other Böle products like aprons and cases at Trunk Clothiers in London (as well as Harrod’s and other resellers). It also has its own online store, although it’s rather hard to find on the site – you can see it here.  

Bole minister bagBole bag

Böle bags are not hand-sewn – as with most bags except the very top end of the market, they are machine sewn with hand tacks and other details at points with particular stress, for example. They are painstakingly lined with reindeer skin, and have brass hardware. They also include many extra details that others would pass up, such as the wooden bars on the bottom of the Minister cases.

These points, along with the leather and the small production, make them rather expensive – the simple office bag is €950 and the Minister’s case €4,5000. 

Anders Sandlund bOle

I tend to prefer the simpler designs in any case, such as that office bag and the Portfolio. I also love the aprons – it’s worth a trip to Trunk just to feel that gorgeous expanse of leather. Unfortunately I’m not sure polishing your shoes counts as heavy enough labour to justify a full leather apron.

My one criticism of the designs would also be that the brass is treated to give it an antique look, and to stop it from naturally tarnishing at all. I tend to prefer brass that tarnishes and that I can look after, or let it tarnish and just oil it occasionally – which gives it a different, but again very natural look.  

There is a wealth of information on the site under the ‘Böle’ section

BoleBole rucksack

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Its amazing how I am from Sweden and never heard of this brand. Their craftmanship is exactly that kind that I wanna endorse by buying their products. Thanks for writing about this Simon!


Just a heads-up, the picture is of Jan Sandlund 3rd generation, His son Anders is the 4th generation.


worth to try..this is the first time I heard Bole..But from the description, I am interested with spruce-tanned leather..
I’ll try to search in my country


Sorry for going of topic and for going onto something you have covered before but I cannot seem to find the thread using the Search.

I’ve always been extremes, a worsted wool suit or denim jeans, but having had my first couple of “sports jackets” made I thought it was worth while moving up in the formality stakes occasionally. I realise up from jeans is chinos, moleskin, cords etc but when you start getting into fresco, flannel and gabardine I am totally at a loss at their relative formality.

I did have a quick look at flannel and fresco samples when last in my tailors and I personally wouldnt be able to say which is more formal than the other – or are these two relatively equal and more a winter/ summer divide?

A simple list, for a simple person like me, from formal to informal would be really useful and I promise to bookmark it this time.


Hi Simon

I was wondering if you had any advice on travelling with ties. I do a fair amount of travel with work and am never sure how best to transport my ties? A simple, albeit obscure, method has been to role them and place them inside a shoe in my bag! Not the most elegant of options but I would love to hear your thoughts?



Thanks Simon


Hi Steven,

These bags look amazing and I am in the market for a new messenger type bag for my day to day life. I understand their shoulder bag fits on the lower end of their price points compared to such products as their Minister Case for obvious reasons in terms of construction but would you still consider the vegetable tanned leather products they produce to be a good value for the price point compared to other manufactures you have mentioned such as Frank Clegg? Does the shoulder bag / office bag seem like something that will age well and last with proper care?


Thank you Simon
Apologise for the misspelling of the name.