You’d think sourcing a bag to house 5 of our best-selling products, ones being put together to create our Travel Set would be easy. Perhaps vegan leather would be the best choice, but what actually is vegan leather? Leather is leather right, surely it can’t be made as good from plants. I wanted a bag that was versatile, tough, waterproof and looked amazing, easy enough.
Reality was totally different. It wasn’t easy at all unless I wanted to let go of my brands values and ethics, and I wasn’t about to do that. It took me well over a year to find just what I wanted.
I had actually given up hope and shelved the idea numerous times, completely frustrated.
That was until an opportunity with the crew at Wilde Collaborative presented itself. An opportunity to showcase our products in the beautiful region of Italy. I said yes, loved too. It would be the perfect opportunity to birth our yet to be created Travel Set. Not hard at all (whaaaat).
Now to find that bag, but where? I’d looked everywhere, googled everything. I discovered it was right in front of me.
A beautiful photo landed in my inbox. It piqued my interest. I loved the bag our products were photographed next to. Who made that? Could I get a bag similar to that?
And that is where my intense learning trip began. I thought the beauty industry had a lot to answer for in misguiding the public, and it does. I now put it alongside the fashion industry, another industry that needs a major shakeup to become more transparent and put people and planet first.
Fashion is not just fashion. It can be a dirty, disgusting and a greedy trade to be involved in. What the hell am I doing getting involved in this. Yet my heart had already made the decision. I had already decided that I would not use any materials that would harm the planet, a great place to start. Then I found myself reading horror stories on how people bleed, even die, making our clothes, our bags. I was disgusted.
My research started in earnest. I began by trying to source a ready-made bag yet I could not find something that met all my criteria. The majority were single use plastic, or cotton, and I had no interest in contributing to landfill, or contributing to the decline of our planet’s health. I ended up looking into materials instead.
How many ethical & sustainable material choices could there be?
It turns out quite a few. But not all were as they seemed.
One really caught my eye.
I kept seeing vegan leather being mentioned in different forums. Now I’m not a vegan but after reading just how toxic the tannery sheds are where the skins are manufactured plus the horrendous effects it had on the humans breathing in all that toxic air, let alone the cruelty to animals, in some cases, being reared just for the skin. Sickening. I didn’t want anything to do with bovine leather for our bags.
So, what is vegan leather? Turns out it is just that, leather made from materials that have not been sourced from animals. Pretty simple right. Awesome!
No, not simple.
You see vegan leather or faux leather normally contains a mix of Polyurethane, Polyester, and PVC in various concentrations, eeeek. Whilst ok for the animal, because it’s not getting slaughtered, this is not ok for the planet.
All these are manufactured from fossil fuels and come with the whole conglomerate of environmental issues when extracting them. Then think of the fact that they do not break down easily and when they do, they leave behind microplastics which are ingested by our wildlife and pollute our planet.
PVC itself gives off dangerous chemicals such as dioxins during the manufacturing process plus it needs phthalates, endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s), to become flexible.
Dioxins and phthalates are known EDC’s and when possible should be avoided. Imagine working in the manufacturing sheds making these, breathing in the toxic fumes all day, not thanks, and I wouldn’t want others to either.
Back to the drawing board. Hemp, bamboo, cork, mushrooms…. no. Not waterproof, not elegant enough. What about Piñatex®?
A material made from the waste of pineapple harvesting. What would normally go to waste, was now being used and providing extra income for the farmers. How cool is that. It ticked all my boxes.
Easy to clean
Supporting the farmers
I had found the answer. Yes, this material was more expensive than others but I don’t put a price on protecting lives or protecting the planet. I believe every little thing we can do, we should do, in order to make it a better place for everyone and to ensure it’s here for generations to come.
No one should have to bleed or die for fashion.
I decided this was the material for Verissima. I knew it could be designed into a beautiful multipurpose item, perhaps a makeup bag, why not empty it out and use as an elegant evening clutch on that unexpected yet exciting night out.
Imagine walking into your room at a well-earned and needed retreat and finding this beautiful Travel Set sitting on your comfy bed as a welcome gift from your host. Imagine being that host and gifting this to your attendees.
I was determined to use this material and set about finding myself a reputable and talented manufacturer. I was successful. No being made in makeshift shanty’s overseas where working conditions are well below fair. No being made by hard working people who don’t even get paid.
Instead I found a manufacturer who is part of the Ethical Fashion Revolution. Someone I could trust and understood how important this was to me.
We were done. We made zip choices, colour choices, inner material choices. It all went so well, seamlessly (haha) and now we have a beautiful ethical and sustainable multipurpose clutch as part of our product line.
Our Travel Set contains 5 of our best sellers so you’re not only helping the planet but your skin will feel good and smell amazing whilst you are away on your holidays or business travel. Every part of our Travel Set is made from natural and/or organic ingredients giving you peace of mind knowing that not only are the skincare products free from toxic chemicals but the production of the bag itself has harmed no-one, has come from a sustainable source and provides income directly to those that harvest the materials. Amazing.
If you are a retailer or event organiser wanting to offer this unique product, get in touch with Nat at [email protected]
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