About WhatdaisydidOur 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.
We try to use every scrap of leather, and any leftovers are sold on to a small jewellery making company to minimise waste.
The Wayfarer Collection is made in the UK from high grade ex-military materials; Waxed canvas which is very thick and durable and recycled 'fabric reinforced rubberised PVC tarpaulin'. These materials are 99% locally sourced with approximately 95% being recycled which means the creation of these bags has a very small carbon footprint. Where it has not been possible to source recycled components we have tried to buy locally and have sourced our zips from the last remaining zip factory in the UK.
We have been working with an experienced design technician who has helped us achieve our goal of making our designs the strongest that they can possibly be, and every design detail reflects this. We aren't using seams in areas of strain, large compartments are double lined and every seam edge is concealed. We are using the strongest available thread (normally used for heavy duty leather work) and the straps are heat sealed to prevent fraying. We are so confident of their strength that we are offering a 3 year repair or replace guarantee with every bag, however we expect them to last a lifetime!
Because of the recycled nature of the materials, each one will have its own unique character which reflects its history and we feel this makes them all the more special!
We have teamed up with The Northampton Hope Centre, a local homeless charity. Together we are piloting a scheme to offer employment to vulnerable and homeless people. A new Lottery funded project will allow for a liaison officer to support each candidates' transition into the role. Angela is our first employee though this partnership and will be given the opportunity to learn invaluable skills and experience that she can carry with her throughout the rest of her life. As our business grows we will continue to work with the Hope Centre to find new employees. We believe this scheme will be a huge success and hope to set an example to other employers. £1 from each bag sale will be donated to the Hope Centre.