Country of Origin: United Kingdom
To create our bags we work with two brothers in India called Pinu and Manish who we visit every year. Pinu and Manish share responsibility such as sourcing materials, distributing the work between the communities, paying tailors and managing orders.
Our Carnival Collection is made from recycled leather that has been wasted by factories within a 140km radius of where the bags are made. If not collected, this leather would otherwise be wasted. The brothers travel around making arrangements with the owners, offering to pay for the wasted scraps and end of roll material. Most of them are too wealthy to take a moment out of their time to make any arrangements, which makes this process very difficult and only a small number of visited factories make successful deals. The cotton lining is also from factory dead stock.
For The Forest Collection the leather comes from abattoirs where the animals have come from small scale and community farming. These bags do not use any chemical tanning as this process has drastic effects on local water supplies and workers health. In fact in the main tanning district of Bangladesh 80% of workers have a serious health issue. Much of the farmland is unuseable and much of the water undrinkable. Our bags are tanned in sunlight and oiled with vegetable oils.
We have 60 families (thirty women and fifty seven men) producing the bags for us. They live in small communities in a 60km radius of the brothers home. Many of the tailors are ex shoe makers that lost their jobs in the trade shift to China. All tailors are paid a fair commission, with living wage realistically achievable within normal working hours. All tailors work from home and have complete working flexibility. Flexible work is great for our tailors as it means they can work around other commitments such as university and parenting.
The machinery, tools and electricity (when used) is all supplied to them by Pinu and Manish.
We do not use any child, elderly or forced labour. Workers set their own deadlines for what they can produce, meaning no pressure is put on them to meet deadlines. We work around them, so to speak. We also keep work availability consistent by building up stock during quiet times.
We have three master tailors, who train fellow tailors, create our templates and turn our designs into reality. Babu and Raju are both studying Art at university and these very talented brothers are responsible for The Forest Collection. Chota has had a life long career as a tailor and is responsible for the Carnival Collection.
The lining in the bags is all deadstock and end of roll cotton.