During a time like Christmas you undoubtable feel very grateful for what you have. First of all family and friends, but also a safe home, food, and fresh air to breathe.
Very early on when deciding to start our own company and brand, we knew we wanted to do it fairly. We wanted to do well by doing good. It took us more than two years to find factories that are focusing on work ethic, sustainability and quality.
So why did we decide to produce our bags in India? The textile industry in India is huge, actually number two in the World after China, and leather is one of India's biggest export products. There are so many factories in India producing bags and other textile products, and far from all are certified for fair work, as social accountability, including fair wages, health, and safety policies. We want this to change in India, and by requiring and ordering fair and environmental friendly produced products we can support people in developing countries by providing fair job opportunities.
Our first trip to India was in November 2018. It was an amazing trip. We spent 10 days in Kolkata, visiting factories, and learning more about production processes and leather tanning. The thing that hit me the most was that it was so, so many people. Everywhere. The traffic was crazy; evereywhere you looked there were cows and people, motocycles and cars, buses and trucks, but it all just worked out somehow, and people were so friendly and generous. At the factories the employees were eager to show us their work, and the process of making leather products. They let us try their traditional Indian food, and we learned to know Indian traditional greetings ceremonies, which is full of welcoming spirit and inclusivity. I really looking forward to our next trip to India.
Another thing that really hit us hard when visiting India, was all trash and plastic waste along the streets in Kolkata. People were burning plastic waste to make it disappear, since it is considered a quick and easy solution to reduce overflowing garbage. However, this method is deemed dangerous to health and the environment. Plastic waste is known to contain carbon and hydrogen. Those compounds mix with chloride often found in food waste, and when they are set on fire, the mixture releases gas that is harmful to humans. It is really awful, and we decided that this is something that we want to do something about. We are currently in the process of creating backpacks and duffelbags in re-used plastic (R-PET) and re-used nylon, collected from the nature in India.
We hope you will follow us and contribute on our journey to make the World a better place for more people. Be grateful for what you have, and don't forget to give back to people who really needs it.
Happy Holidays from HILDEBRAND.