Borboleta makes vegan and PETA approved handbags that give back to communities and schools
The world of backpacks is full of options and features that allow travelers to find different bags to meet specific needs. However, many do not take into account the material and humanitarian costs of making and buying a backpack, which affects both workers and the environment. Veronica Race, CEO and Chief Designer of Borboleta, a Thailand-based bag company, started her business to make bags ethical.
Borboleta opts for ethical materials and wages
One of the most apparent characteristics of a Borboleta bag is its appearance which looks exactly like high quality leather. However, one of the company’s missions is to deliver well-designed bags using cruelty-free vegan leather that simulates the texture of animal-derived materials.
This synthetic leather, also known as “scientific leather”, is most often made from polyurethane, a plastic polymer that molds easily. This gives the material the flexibility to form the curves of a bag, as well as to receive an imprint that resembles natural textures. Likewise, many natural materials such as cactus, cork, and fruit peels are also used to make leather-like fabrics.
Using vegan leather helps reduce the industry’s reliance on animal hides for products ranging from bags to shoes and coats. When derived from plants and natural foods, it also presents a sustainable option for clothing that many fashion designers have already embraced.
In addition, each bag is ethically produced in exclusive workshops that provide safe and healthy conditions for workers. The company pays fair wages and offers benefits such as health insurance and paid sick leave. This is a far cry from industry standards which often neglect the safety and well-being of workers in countries like China and Bangladesh.
This is also facilitated by the fact that the business operates with a direct-to-consumer sales strategy that eliminates middlemen and additional fees. This ensures that workers receive a living wage and that no money is wasted in the supply chain while maintaining high quality for every bag.
Designing a bag for the modern traveler
Veronica Race grew up between the United States and Thailand, often living in Boston, her father’s hometown. She attended the University of Maryland and spent several years working in nonprofit organizations as well as the education sectors in Washington DC and Bankgok.
This nomadic lifestyle meant that Race constantly had to carry a bag with her to organize whatever she needed. In particular, these are bags that she designed herself.
She quickly noticed that her friends and family wanted her bags, which prompted Race to consider a career change. She chose to study fashion design at the Chanapatana International Design Institute, while also studying at the Accademia Italiana in Florence, Italy.
Shortly after, she launched Borboleta, which means âbutterflyâ in Portuguese, to offer her bags to female travelers who were looking for functionality and professionalism. Each bag contains multiple pockets and functions that give the wearer plenty of options to customize their experience on every trip.
Give back with a Borboleta bag
While the designs on the Borboleta bag brand website are trendy and trendy, there is a strong social mission behind the brand. Race founded the Ocean of Wisdom Foundation in 2007 after narrowly averting the Boxing Day tsunami disaster in 2004. The storm devastated Phuket, where Race was on vacation, and left many missing and dead.
This experience instilled in Race a sense of need to give back to his community and founded his organization to help underprivileged students in Thailand. Ocean of Wisdom receives benefits, especially from Borboleta, to fight nutrition and education in rural towns. This includes sponsoring the children’s breakfast, as well as donating books and supplies to over 2,000 students in 16 schools.
More recently, the organization donated to the Abused Women’s Emergency Home and also helped to help medical staff cope with Covid-19.
Veronica Race helps educate consumers about how our products are made, including labor and materials. By using cruelty-free vegan leather products, giving workers a fair wage and giving back to the community, Borboleta is making a new kind of sustainable bag.
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