#GivingTuesday: The Women Behind A. Bernadette
We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. — GivingTuesday.org
Today, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. If you are looking to give back to brands doing good work around the world, you are in the right place. Past posts have covered organizations like GrowNYC, Trade As One, and MadeFAIR.
Today, I'll introduce you to A.Bernadette.
as the designer, I think about functionality, style, but most importantly, quality.
I first met Andrea Reyes at what has turned out to be one of the most fortuitous night's of my New York life. It was a meeting of the NYC Fair Trade Coalition, displaced by a holiday weekend and left to meet at organizer Nimet's apartment. A motley crew of women gathered a talked about our talents and interests. It was there that I met Meg of A Wool Story and was first fascinated by her wool unraveling/knitting scheme. I then watched her grow her business and move to Detroit to pursue it full-time. I met several other women I still keep in contact with that night; one of them is Andrea.
Since then, I have met her sister and business partner, Amberle; joined her uptown salon; worked a clothing swap; and taken photos for her new line of upcycled leather bags. Obviously, my being a vegan makes leather a controversy. This leather is castoff material being made into something useful, so I'm okay with that for now. In addition, Andrea is handcrafting the bags herself here in NYC. Proceeds will fund A. Bernadette's debut in the NY Now trade show, getting them in front of more customers, with the ultimate goal of increasing business in Uganda.
WE BELIEVE BUSINESS, ETHICAL BUSINESS, IS THE WAY FORWARD IN CREATING A MORE PEACEFUL, PROSPEROUS, HAPPY WORLD.
A. Bernadette works with fair trade producer groups in Uganda to create goods using recycled materials and traditional weaving techniques. The core collection of bracelets, bags, and headbands intertwines African skills with American trends. Amber and Amberle travel to Uganda each year to work out new pieces and teach the women producers the designs. They return with stories to tell and recycled materials made new.
These limited edition upcycled leather bags will help fund the work that A. Bernadette creates in Uganda. Buyers will also receive Andrea's personal guarantee to make these leather bags last for the next 20 years. If you need a repair, e-mail them, throw it in the mail, and they’ll stitch it back up for you, free of charge. I had the opportunity to style and photograph the bags. Take a look at the photos and then peruse the shop this #GivingTuesday.
If you are in NYC, stop by the Fair Trade Coalition's Holiday Pop-Up tonight and see the bags and other lovely items in person. It's free and you might just make some new friends!