As Scaramanga grows, more and more people have been asking us, "where are your bags made?" We find it incredibly encouraging that people are concerned about where their things come from. We thought we would let everyone who hasn't read the Ethical Policy on our website know exactly how we source our leather and make our bags.
We started using artisans led by DB in India back in 2006, because we valued their expert craftmanship, and the methods and traditional tools they used to make leather goods. Flash forward over 15 years now and we have worked with the same small-scale suppliers and family business ever since. Our long-standing relationship with them means a lot to us, because it allows for continuity, honesty and a great deal of trust. Unlike other companies we don't go from supplier to supplier trying to get the best price of leather. It's important that DB's small business is sustainable, so if they're prices go up, then ours do to. All the prices are negotiated and agreed on before work commences and often times we'll pay up to 75% of an advance to make sure all workers wages are covered. Working with DB for so long, not only do we have expert craftsmen and women making our bags, but we guarantee that any and all leather is ethically sourced and that the all parts of the animal are used, mainly for food. We travel to India on a regular basis, so we can see the work environment, meet new employees, see new samples, and of course to ensure that all the ethical standards are in place.
All of our bags are made from buffalo leather hides, which are tanned using a semi-vegetable method, which means more natural substances (like tannins and dyes) are used, and fewer harmful chemicals (like chromium salts). It is an eco-friendly process for the environment, workers and customers. The leather is finished with hot waxes and oils to give it a unique vintage finish. This allows the natural markings, scars, shade variations and other characteristics of the leather to be enjoyed. Modern leather processing often removes these wonderful surface textures, creating a uniform appearance by applying a finish layer. Our customers say they appreciate that our bags aren't uniform, and if you are lucky enough to shop at one of our locations, you get to choose the leather you prefer. On that note, our bags are made from several parts of the hide, so even the different parts of each bag can have variations, giving our customers one-of-a-kind products. The best part of our unique and natural products is that most of them are handmade. Please read our Meet the Makers post to find out more about the methods and tools employed by these skilled workers. The pairing of high-quality leather with their fine craftmanship leads to a bag that is sure to last for many years, one that ages beautifully, softening and darkening the way natural leather should. Some of our customers enjoy seeing the leather change with time and don't apply creams or oils; whereas others like to protect the leather. This can be a very personal decision, so feel free to read our leather care suggestions from the website and see what others have to say.
As more and more tragic stories are being reported on about working conditions in other countries, we want to be very clear and upfront about where and how our leather is sourced. Hopefully we've done that, but please feel free to ask more questions. Yes, we manufacture in India. All leather products are fairly traded and we are a member of Ethical Junction. The leather is genuine tough wearing buffalo that will last years and we use eco-friendly tanning practices. There are some fantastic articles out there about 'fast fashion'-a term you may not be familiar with, but are certainly surrounded by everyday. It's the 'here today, gone tomorrow' merchandise that fills our big box chain stores. Fast fashion offers the latest trends at the lowest prices, no matter the quality or how or where these items are produced. We believe fast fashion is the root of the deplorable working conditions out there. If you'd like information about these very issues, we recommend this website and her book if you want more information. We take pride that we make leather products that are built to last and hopefully you do too.
Here's pictures of our friends making our bags in 2016:
We at Scaramanga are committed to:
- Paying all our suppliers a fair price, agreed through discussion and participation, which improves their standard of living and their community. We pay at least a 75% advance for orders and pay promptly.
- Developing a long-term relationships with its suppliers and respects local designs and production methods.
- Undertaking product development with suppliers and producers, which ensures more money goes to the local economies.
- Promoting a safe and healthy working environment for producers.
- Actively encouraging sustainable development, which often means paying a premium.
- Ensuring women’s work is properly valued and their contribution is always paid for fairly.
- Ensuring producers will be paid equally regardless of gender, race and caste; and that income should improve their standard of living.
- Respecting traditional seasonal working patterns and holidays.
Let us know if you have questions or comments. Thanks!