The story of Piña
From waste product to multifunctional substance fabric
Corona affects us all. And yet in addition to the many sad messages, there is also light on the horizon, at least on mine. As founder and owner of Brächa Design, I try to live my core values every day; to propagate freedom, creativity and sustainability. As a person, but also through my business. I designed and produced sustainable and ‘fair’ leather bags. I didn’t do this alone, but together with a local community in Bali. This way I not only produced a beautiful product, I also provided an income for a group of local employees and their families. I have been doing this for several years in addition to my profession as a hairstylist. In my work I can fully express my creativity and my need for freedom and sustainability.
Corona as a game changer
With the arrival of Corona everything changed. The number of orders decreased quickly, and I was no longer able to visit Bali to consult with my team. I soon realized that producing more bags was not the solution. Corona forced me to slow down, to reflect. On the one hand that was annoying and uncertain. For me, but also for the people I work with in Bali. On the other hand, space and time arose. For some years now I have been looking for even more durable material than the leather I use now, even though we are already doing it as sustainable as possible. I have experimented with vegan and therefore vegetable leather. But that didn't quite get off the ground. On the one hand because it is a costly matter and on the other because I learned that many 'vegan' fabrics are not completely vegan and so that didn't feel right.
And then a couple of months ago things changed. I met an Indonesian social entrepreneur, who offered help and some funding and so I was able to start experimenting with pineapple, together with a group of local workers. We already knew that you could do a lot with the leaf of a pineapple, which is a waste product. You only need a good machine. Knowing that this machine is only produced in China and that buying and shipping was too expensive, we decided to produce this machine ourselves and so the first "trials" could begin.
It takes a village to make Piña!
We quickly developed an effective local chain. I am always amazed by the local creativity and "Can-do" mentality. There are people who collect the leaves, others who transport them and still others who run them through the machine. We also train people on how to use the machine. Soon we got the hang of the process and were able to develop a very sturdy, beautiful fabric, with which anything is possible. We baptized the name into PIÑA! At the moment we are producing all different kinds of fabric, we doubled our machines and our production and committed a great group of local people.
The challenge for me is not only developing the material. Managing and developing the people involved is a major challenge. How do I ensure that they meet the quality requirements that are necessary, but also that they will receive a structural income now and in the future? They are so enthusiastic and have a lot of ideas, but how do you temper that local enthusiasm so that we can first improve and grow? The last thing I want is to lose the local passion.
Who needs Piña?
Who can benefit from Piña, who do we address? We want to reach conscious designers who, together with us, want to get even more out of this material. Think of clothing, fabric for furniture, accessories, covers for surfboards, tent cloth, etc. We want to reach people who are looking for a need sturdy multifunctional fabric, but also want to develop it further with us. We are looking for people who want to innovate sustainably and contribute to a better world. We believe that we need to grab this opportunity today! And yes, because everything is partly made by hand and because it is a natural product, it also requires patience and respect. Purchases can be made per meter and together we can further personalize the fabric, color and use
Follow my journey or travel with me? Feel free to reach out!