We are particular about the raw materials that we use. We challenge the commonly held view that synthetic materials are inferior to leather, and instead choose not to ignore the inherent exploitation + disastrous environmental concerns that go hand in hand with industrial animal agriculture, slaughter, leather production and tanning.
While being cruelty free is of optimum importance to us at Sans Beast, so too is the environment - and despite marketing folklore, synthetic + most certainly biobased 'leathers' have a far lower environmental impact than animal based leathers.
From the start, we have worked to find materials that stand up to the aesthetic and tactile vision for Sans Beast and are created responsibly, adhering to international chemical + toxicity standards.
Since launch in 2018, our collection has been made up of virgin, recycled + bio-based fabrics, all constructed to emulate the hides from the animal kingdom - without the cruelty. Our polyurethane coated fabrics are responsibly made (REACH + Prop65 certified) and an increasing proportion (95% of our new faux leather collection from February 2023) has been made using pre + post consumer recycled polyester and PU that is water based + solvent free. The recycled materials we use are Global Recycled Standard certified. We have produced styles in cactus leather from Desserto, (currently out of stock but working on a new collection now) which is a low impact organic material that is partially biodegradable + we launched a collection of Italian made AppleSkin™bags in April 2023.
2023 sees us introduce our new Sans Beast printed bag lining, that is made from recycled plastic bottles.
It's important for us to point out, we are not suggesting perfection. Our pieces are not going to disappear from the earth any time soon – neither is that chrome tanned, heavily sprayed + chemical treated leather handbag. We fundamentally believe that adored pieces don’t go to landfill. They are treasured, collected, shared, repaired + upcycled.
We design pieces with spirit + integrity for people who will love them, and we’ll continue on our journey to source materials that align with our twin values of being cruelty free + environmentally responsible.
Hopefully by now, you've watched our A Makers View videos. Our design process has always been closely linked to our relationships with the manufacturing base. As we move into 2023, we are expanding our maker horizons + you'll be seeing some new faces + spaces as we evolve + grow our supply chain partners.
We'll continue to sketch in detail, and build our ranges with love for our craft + respect for the making process. Materials, hardware, topstitch, edgepaint, lining, pockets + all the construction in between, is discussed + worked through. In order to get the styles right, we do at least two rounds of sampling, plus a full coloured range of samples for photography + press, and this process can take up to 6 months.
We have produced at SingFai Handbags in the Dongguan area of Southern China since Sans Beast was established. The factory has gone through many changes since those early days, reducing in size, yet still continuing to look after us with dedication. However, as our brand has grown, so too the need to work with additional makers. With our experience in the handbag space our network of quality makers is large + trusted. Viari in Chennai, India, joined us as a key maker, in 2022 + we look forward to evolving our collections further with the excellent team at Viari. More information in the second half of 2023, as we evolve our supply chain.
We only work with Sedex audited factories, ensuring a code of conduct is in place for fair + living wage remuneration, hours worked, safety, ethical management + region appropriate extras such as medical insurance.
The production period goes for approximately 3 months, depending on material availability + it is a constant communication with the factory + the Sans Beast team to ensure all details remain on track.
Packaging is a fraught area of the final production process. Goods need to be shipped + this means they're sitting in a box + on a vessel for up to 4 weeks. We transitioned 85% of our production from being packed into traditional plastic poly bags to water soluble bags midway through 2019. These bags are biodegradable, compostable and soluble in hot water. The material is harmless to animals, plants + humans.
It took time, effort + investment to get this far + it is a positive step forward. Yet, we have further to go: there is still single use plastic in our supply chain from factory to SB. We are committed to improving in this space + the conversations with makers are ongoing.
When you place an order, first, we say one of the following things: yay, thank you, brilliant, cheers, oooh that's a good choice...etc. Then, we get to preparing your order. John is the main human in our warehouse + he is a stickler for detail.
He sometimes hand writes a card for you (printed by Castlemaine small business, Print Together, on post consumer recycled paper with eco friendly inks), gets all the address labels sorted, checks that your purchase is perfect, rejects items that don't adhere to his high standards, then packs your treasure in its recycled cotton, undyed Sans Beast dust bag, carefully wraps it in the NoIssue branded paper (soy printed on paper from FSC sources), seals it with a sticker, and pops it in a recycled + recyclable cardboard box + seals the package with water activated paper tape.
Yes, it's a process, and we are asked not to get in his way. Short of sealing it with a kiss, these parcels are sent with love + dedication. Amazon he is not, fabulously niche he is.