From waste product to multifunctional fabric
Covid - 19 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 design and produce sustainable and ‘fair’ leather bags. I don’t do this alone, but together with a local community in Bali. In this way I not only produce a beautiful product, but I also provide 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. From nightmare to dream.With the arrival of Corona everything changed, not only did the number of orders decrease quickly, I also was no longer able to visit Bali to consult with my team. I soon determined for myself that producing more bags was not the solution. Covid-19 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 sustainably as possible. I have experimented with vegan and therefore vegetable leather. But that didn't quite get off the ground. Because it is a costly matter and I learned that many 'vegan' fabrics are not completely vegan so that didn't feel right.
And then, one day, I met a very special social entrepreneur from Lombok.
A huge combination of forcesI shared my dream with her to realize a real plant-based substance/fabric. She does many great social projects and has a large network in Asia. She told me about a home for the less fortunate in Lombok. A home for women who need safe accommodation, for people with disabilities and many others. A financial donation had been made for this home to be spent on a sustainable initiative, something that would help the people be more durable. The click we immediately had was already special, but when she suggested that I use the donation to make my dream come true, I was speechless. After that it went very quickly. We were aware that you could do a lot with the leaf of a pineapple, which is a waste product. You only need a good machine. This machine is only produced in China, but buying and shipping was too expensive. In Lombok they had also gotten a taste it and the plan a rose to make the machine themselves. Maybe the less money, there was no shortage of materials, craftsmanship and perseverance. The machine was made and the first "trials" could begin.
It takes a village to make Pinalo!
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. What subsequently rolled out in terms of fabric was also a ‘different story’, but we soon got the hang of it were able to develop a very sturdy, beautiful fabric, with which anything is possible. We baptized the name of the fabric into PINALO; pineapple Lombok! We are not there yet, we still have to develop more, but if we are able to develop what we have now in such a short time, then I won’t worry. For me The challenge for me is not only in developing the material, but managing and developing the people involved. How do I ensure that they meet the quality requirements that are necessary, but also that they will receive an structural income now and in the future? They are so enthusiastic and have a lot of ideas, buthow do you manage this enthusiasm so that we can first improve and grow? The last thing I want is to lose the local passion.
Our target group: Sustainable innovative designers
Who can benefit from Pinalo, who do we address? We want to reach conscious designers who, together with us, want to get more out of this material. Think of clothing, fabric for furniture, accessories, covers for surfboards, tent cloth, etc. We are looking for people who need sturdy multifunctional fabric, but also want to develop it further with us. So much more is possible, but that depends on the wishes of the customer. But more importantly, we are looking for people who want to contribute sustainably to a better world. We need to grab this opportunity today! 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 Firm steps In the coming months we will take the time to professionalize the process and further develop the material. For example, I will talk to furniture makers to collect their thoughts for the fabrics usage. I also want to discover what it takes to make the fabric waterproof or water-repellent and see how we can add color as naturally as possible.
So, trial and error, but always with a solid step forward. Follow my journey or travel with me?