Pelcor’s first design—a cork umbrella—debuted in 2003 the brainchild of Sandra Correia. Unique, fashionable and unexpected, Pelcor’s rise through the fashion ranks has been a slow and steady process. Today, the all-cork accessories brand is taking the U.S. by storm. We caught up with its tireless founder, Sandra Correia, to talk fashion, style and the evolution of cork.

Why cork? Cork always has been in my family story. I am the third generation in a cork industrial family business. It all began in the 1930s with my grandfather who produced wine stoppers. My father further developed the family business producing champagne corks and now me, with Pelcor. Since I was a child, I grew up in my father’s factory and I have cork in my blood. I always dreamed to make cork fashionable and this have been my path.

Pelcor has transformed over the years, expanding internationally, how have the design aspects changed to accommodate the global market? Design changes have been fundamental for Pelcor’s worldwide expansion. Over the last years, one of our principal strategies has been investing in our creative design team in three areas ( Fashion design, Accessories and Graphics) looking for new trendy textures, colors, volume for our new collections and premium branding for our design graphics.     
    Our creative director, Eduarda Abbondanza, is a very experienced and wise person in design. She is also the President of Lisbon Fashion Week. The changes we did are always supported in the vision of this great designer experience. Pelcor vision is to be fashion accessories label recognized globally for their values and primary material– unique, exclusive, handle-care and luxurious.

What’s the best thing about being made in Portugal? Made in Portugal, means that we develop here a unique culture of how to work cork skin to this unique fashion accessories, with quality control just in time and at same time test new applications and developments.

How would you describe the designs of Pelcor? Pelcor design is a very contemporary premium design. With their trendy undertone, combine contemporary design with excellent craftsmanship. With an eye for what is happening in fashion, our collection’s edge it’s reflected in its proportions, details, and color palette. Pelcor collections include fashion accessories of exquisite proportions, and refined finishing’s for the modern and cosmopolitan woman. Adding technology to the design process, different textures, and shades of cork skin are explored, bringing a touch of elegance and individuality to each accessory. Each one is a unique peace.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job? For me, the most exciting is to see my brand grow and answers we have from retail with surprise expectations about each new collection. At the same time, is to see answer from cork skin to our design and how for each new approach, this unique material answers the most similar we vision for him. At least, but no last thing, is to open new markets and the challenges I face and my team to bring brand awareness to Pelcor.

What does an average day look like for you? I am always traveling in my country, because our headquarters are in the South and our design and production are in the Center and North of my country. I usually get up at 7am, I have a Portuguese water dog called Corky and we go outside every morning. I check all of my mail from the previous night and go to work around 9am. Around 5pm I try to stop work and go to the gym, I have dinner at home or if I am traveling, I go out to dinner with team, clients and other opinion makers. Around 11pm I go to check my mail again and keep working until 12am. Usually I stay one week in South Portugal, then one week in the Center and North Portugal and another traveling in Europe. From 2 months in 2 months I fly to USA, were I stay for one month, usually traveling between LA, NY and WDC, promoting Pelcor in U.S.A. I never stop, but I am happy because I do what I love to do.

What exciting plans do you have in the works for 2015? For 2015, my goals are to open a Pelcor flagship store in NY ( Soho) and in 2016 a second store in Los Angeles. I want people to feel Pelcor, touch Pelcor and know all the mystery behind this unique material called Cork by Pelcor. Also in 2015, we go to launch a new collection for dogs, called Corky by Pelcor. This collection are collar and leash for dogs, with Pelcor sign on it and I want to say, you go to love it.