"Helen our designer definitely has her own sensibility. First, inspiration strikes, and then it's a process of honing that natural object or silhouette into something that can be functional. The materials definitely inform the design. To date, flowers have been a strong influence".
"We've sold to all climate zones from Maine down to Florida. In warm climates, like Florida we can sell our hemp canvas bags year-round. Here in the northeast, however, customers won't carry canvas in fall and winter".
"Although, as with most handbags, we hybridize several materials, we are looking for acknowledgement of our efforts to use a variety of new materials, some natural and some synthetic, to replace and even surpass leather. As a small player in an industry designed to work with leather, it can be hard to prove your point".
"What we've finally settled on for the hard-finish leather look is "TreetapÂ®", a natural "vegetal rubber" coated canvas used for base, handle, trim, a piping. We're pleased with the high performance of TreetapÂ®. Designing with it allows us to sell to shops and end users who want/need to see something leather-like".
"As we want so much to appeal to, and ideally affect some measure of change in a particular type of consumer, it's been an important find, and we're pleased to support the cooperative that supplies TreetapÂ® rubber".
"UltrasuedeÂ® of course is a synthetic suede leather substitute widely used in clothing and home furnishings. It is often used for upholstery due to it's wear resistance. In the end — after sampling lots of alternatives, including McDonough's DesignTex upholstery fabrics — we chose UltrasuedeÂ®. From our perspective, 'microsuedes' are still the "ethical" choice over skins and hides, although as much as we'd like to, we can't ignore the poly content. The challenge we've yet to overcome is finding a natural suede substitute that is both resilient and acceptable to the market".
"For spring/summer 06, it's back to natural fibers for us — a half-dozen all-new styles in 100% certified, US-produced organic cotton canvas with TreetapÂ® trim. We're dyeing the fabric using low-impact, formaldehyde-free, low-metal/low-sulfur dyes. It's commercially processed to make it colorfast like you'd expect a dyed garment to be. And even though the canvas is water-resistent, we're treating it with soy wax to enhance this quality. It's as close as we've come to our vision of a "pure" eco/sustainable product that works for our market, and we're proud of this. This is the ideal we've been working toward — marrying unique and refined design with eco/animal friendly fabrication".
TreeHugger especially liked HER Design's use of BioBagsÂ® as a packaging alternative. They're a readily bio-degradable alternative to poly bags, being made made of cornstarch and vegetable oil. Although this is an unusual use, HER's supplier for the BioBagsÂ® has reportedly had other customers use them for packaging. But what grabbed us first .... this is from a guy viewpoint of course ... is the sultry feel of BioBagsÂ®. In synch with the products and definitely not something that should go to the dustbin.