At LouLou, our mission is to make stylish leather accessories that are well put together from the ground up. More than beautiful.
Sustainably made leather bags
It has been our mission from the start to create beautiful things that are well put together. Together with our producer, we aim to make the smallest possible environmental footprint to leave behind and contribute to a sustainable (fashion) world. We are aware that we can always do better and look for the next finishing touch in each collection. Read below how we and our producer do our best to achieve this.
More than beautiful
All our products are produced in a very tightly organized workshop in India, Maple Accessories. LouLou founder Floor has been working closely with them for more than 10 years, and for good reason. On her travels through Europe and Asia (India and China) she has seen many places where leather accessories are made. And she consciously chose this producer. From the start, our mission was to make beautiful things that are well put together. From the basics until it ultimately reaches the user. And we share this mission with Maple.
Solar energy, water collection and wash management
We are proud that 'our studio' is the only one in the world that runs entirely on solar energy. They also use new techniques to collect rainwater, so that optimal use of water is made during the production process. Extra attention is also paid to it waste management, which means that all residual waste released during production is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. The entire company is involved. Nice to read; One day a year is dedicated to the 'big cleaning'. In all departments, every corner is cleaned. There is no longer any tape on the underside of a table. The department with the best result not only wins the coveted honorary lunch, but also serves as an example until the next cleaning festival.
Many women from economically disadvantaged areas have not had the opportunity to learn skills that will help them find good jobs. A special program for these women offers them the opportunity to undergo training to develop these skills, to advance their careers and broaden their perspectives. This way, these women can work on their future and support themselves and their families. Make no mistake. This studio is a commercial company and not a charity. But here you can earn an honest living for a good salary. You are insured, there is no mandatory overtime, you are building up a pension and you have the right to join forces against the employer.
But there's more. Single parents receive extra support so that they can go to work without stress and continue to care for their child(ren). They can follow various training courses on nutrition, finance and can take advantage of free childcare.
Every season we do our best to ship all products by boat, because this has a lower impact on the environment than road or air traffic. It may sometimes happen that, due to a late delivery, the products still have to be shipped by plane. To prevent this, we try to tighten our planning, so that all products can be shipped by boat on time. And we increasingly wonder whether we should still be pushed by the 'seasonal' demand from retail. The sale at the end of a season. A bag is more than just beautiful for a while. With the right care and a dose of TLC, it can last for many years. Those few extra weeks, does that really make a difference?
Sustainable tanned leather
The leather we use is a residual product from the food industry and comes exclusively from tanners with a silver or gold rating from the Leather Working Group. This is a non-profit organization that is committed to a sustainable future with responsibly tanned and sourced leather. Our leather is dyed in an innovative way, which converts the dirt that may be released from liquid to a solid form. By converting residual waste into solid form, it can easily be collected, after which it can be destroyed locally.
Leather is an extremely durable material, with good care and a little TLC you can enjoy it for many years (sometimes even decades). Why don't we use vegan 'leather'? Floor wrote a piece about that. You read that here.
In addition to a lower impact on the environment, it is of course very important that all craftsmen in the workshop work under good conditions for a fair wage. We have a good relationship with the producer and regularly visit our workshop in India. In this way we witness the circumstances with our own eyes.
In addition to a fair wage and a good working environment, the craftsmen also have good secondary employment conditions. They receive annual bonuses based on their performance, they build up pension and accommodation is provided for employees who have to travel a great distance to work. In addition, trainings and workshops are regularly given in which employees can further develop their skills.
Our manufacturer in India complies with the 11 terms of the BSCI Code of Conduct. This is an international membership that oversees various provisions that contribute to a good standard regarding social and environmental aspects. This means, among other things, that the workers in 'our' studio have a socially acceptable workplace, with plenty of opportunities to develop themselves. Our workshop serves as an example for this region and ticks all the boxes (and more than that, often compared to European workshops) with regard to responsible production. They are very aware of the impact of manufacturing processes on the environment and are continuously raising the bar, among other things, by purchasing even more advanced equipment, even more streamlined processes and clear objectives for employees, partners and their suppliers.
While production in India is often associated with human-unfriendly activities (overtime, poor wages, child labor), we know that things can and are very good here. Don't be fooled by a 'made Italy' label when a bag has an extremely low price. Someone paid for that price. And it wasn't the store where you bought it, nor was it its supplier. Someone somewhere, sitting on a mountain of leather scraps in a tailor's shop, worked on this accessory for a pittance. Been there, never wanted to have any part in it. Choose consciously.
Would you like to discuss sustainability with Floor? We really don't know everything, but we would like to share what we have learned, and do you have knowledge that we can use to improve our processes? We would love to hear it. Email email@example.com.