We started the Original Satchel Store because we believed that we could make better satchels and other leather accessories than all our competitors combined. By making use of better quality leather, better craftsmanship, better photography using real people and better customer service, we believed that customers would respond to us rather than our competition. And it worked.
You could find our satchels in department stores in Moscow and St. Petersburg through to New York and San Fransisco. We were asked to make satchels for supermodels and fashion editors.
We were even called by VOGUE magazine who asked us to make a satchel with the word VOGUE embossed on it.
Imagine, we were sought out by the most famous fashion brand on the planet.
In the exciting rush to build an international business, we admit that we overlooked the horrendous back-story that is leather production.
We concentrated our attention on the gorgeous end-product rather than the ugly process and cruel story behind leather.
So, what happened to influence us to make such a fundamental change and reject all leather in favour of a vegan, plant-based material?
There is no single reason. It was more of a cocktail of experiences that brought us to the conclusion that we did not want to be part of that industry. Cruelty must not, can not be ignored and conveniently overlooked.
One of our team found themselves driving behind a double decker lorry transporting animals. As it lurched round a roundabout slurry (a mixture of urine and faeces) cascaded out of the side of the wagon. As they overtook the wagon, they could hear the cries of the animals in distress.
On another occasion, one of our colleagues returned from Fez in Morocco with photographs of men up to their waists in vats containing a mixture of cow urine, quicklime, water and salt used to remove flesh off hides.
These and all the other individual examples that influenced us are not fashion statements that we can turn a blind eye to any longer.