About a year into launching the monogram basket, I felt there was a need to create a monogram bag that served the same purpose as a basket but would become almost a “bag for life”. I was at a fair in Paris and met a wonderful lady who had just what I was looking for. After heavily admiring her collection, we got talking.
Sheenagh had worked for the UN. She had been sent to Bangladesh to educate and help implement means of birth control to women in remote towns and villages.
For Sheenangh, this proved to be a major challenge in that the majority of the women she met had been brought up to believe their only job in life was to procreate. If they did not marry young, many were forced to become young sex workers.
After much research, it was discovered that those who worked and were financially independent, followed advice regarding birth control. They felt valued and had a purpose outside that of giving birth.
She found a small group of women from rural communities who were fabric weavers. These women had little to no education. They married very young and by the age of 18 could have had 2-4 children. For many, this was the first time they had ever earned an income.
The woven cloth was then sent to Dhaka to be tailored and produce the finished products. A number of the women making the bags used to be sex workers in the city. They were taken to a safe environment by the NGO and trained in tailoring by voluntary women groups. They are now paid, not only a fair wage, but get paid for over-time and have a regular health check offered to them on site by the NGO.
I guess the essence of the above is to say how much it pleases me that as a brand, we can work with organisations like the above and give a little back. I should however add that most of what we do has an element of fair trade attached. Much of manufacturing for example, is done in India. When we first find factories, they are thoroughly researched. I ensure they operate in a very transparent manner. I ask for a tour. I engage with the work force and ask the necessary questions, to ensure we are working with reputable organisation.
Support the community and shop canvas!