Spacious Freya handbag made in a grey wipe-clean, water-resistant coated cotton printed with hand sketched circles. Features flat bottom, pleated detail at the sides and three large compartments; one with metal zip fastening and the other two with magnetic poppers. Fully-lined in a metallic grey satin fabric with interior zip pocket and elasticated pouch pocket.
Hand made through a fair trade project in Vietnam.
Approximate size: 36cm wide x 24cm deep.
Earth Squared fair trade bags and accessories are designed in the UK and handmade in Northern Vietnam by a fair trade certified organisation. Earth Squared has been working closely with this organisation for the past 13 years. All employees are over 18 years old; are paid 4 times the national minimum wage and working conditions all abide by fair trade criteria.
Almost all of the artisans who make the products were originally rice farmers earning a subsistent, irregular and inconsistent wage. The rice farmers in Vietnam are very dependent on the weather and other environmental factors out of their control. Working from dawn until dusk the farmers are still unable to earn enough money to feed their families and send their children to school.
Working as a seamstress or in quality control, for example, a person can earn a good standard of living and also send their children to school and on to higher education. In addition producers pay national insurance for each staff member that covers medical costs and provides a pension for retirement all of which is above the national legal requirements.
All of the women working are trained on the job at a workshop in Hanoi. Each person is encouraged to progress and learn new skills so that they can be promoted. The working conditions at the workshops are clean and safe and the staff have regular breaks and days off work. There is flexibility for mothers who breastfeed as well as a system in place for women who are unable to come to work due to a child being ill and off school for example.
Earth Squared have also worked with partners to create a workshop for women with minor disabilities (and who might otherwise find limited opportunities for work) where all of their purses are made. The company gives disadvantaged women the opportunity and support to improve their lives through secure work, training and a healthy working life giving them financial security and self confidence.
Earth Squared is a registered member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS).
NB The cotton canvas used in the oil cloth bags is coated with polyurethane which gives it the wipe-clean and water-resistant features.
Earth Squared started some 13 years ago after founder, Alison Henderson, returned from two years’ volunteering in social projects in Guatemala. Passionate about social justice and with a head for business, Alison wanted to start a fair trade business with an emphasis very much on blending modern design with traditional weaving and embroidery skills. The result is a range of ethically made fashion accessories that appeal to all ages.
All Earth Squared products are designed at their offices in the market town of Haddington near Edinburgh, and produced through a fair trade project in Northern Vietnam.