2019 FINALIST

Veronica Race - Borboleta

Finalist of the The Global Goods Partners Magazine Most Socially Responsible Handbag



Thailand



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2019 Finalist Veronica Race Borboleta

Veronica Race FINALIST'S PROFILE

What country are your bags manufactured?
Thailand

Please explain how your bags are socially responsible?
My bags are socially responsible because we choose sustainable material like scientific leather (100% microfiber). They are durable, waterproof and lightweight (30% lighter than leather). We are cruelty-free and PETA-approved vegan. We also donate parts of the proceeds to fund breakfast and educational programs for underprivileged students in Thailand.

Do you work with local/native artisans to design your bags?
Yes, in our production team we work with local artisans with more than 15 years of experience. They used to work with big factories but were replaced because the factories brought it cheaper labor from Myanmar and Cambodia. These artisans had to work odd jobs (security guards, selling food on the street) but we recruited them and now they can get back to using their skills to create beautiful handbags.

Working Conditions. Are the manufacturers/artisans that are being employed being treated humanely, of age, and working in safe and acceptable conditions? Please explain.
We set up our own workshop where we make sure artisans work in safe and airy conditions. We pay them very fair wages plus they have benefits like health insurance and paid vacation / sick leave. We also provide investment opportunity where they can choose to have a few percentages of their salary go to investment and we contribute the same amount for them every month. This way they will get to invest and in the future will get to reap the benefits. Usually makers only make daily wages with no benefits, let alone think about investing for a better future.

Why did you choose this country to have your bags made and what made you decide to give back? How have your bags impacted this community?
I'm half Thai, half American. Thailand is one of my homes. I spent 10 years in the US and moved back to Thailand after working in a nonprofit in DC. I set up my company here because there are really good artisans here in Thailand. And the reason I wanted to give back is that I felt like I was given a second chance in life as I am a 2004 Tsunami survivor and a volunteer on the scene. I started a foundation 11 years ago focusing on improving education for underprivileged students. It was hard to raise money. When I started my bag company 7 years ago I made a decision to give a part of the proceeds to fund my foundation projects, this way I can keep donating and doing more good things for the kids and not have to wait for donations anymore. The kids at the foundation and my bag customers are my inspirations to expand my brand so I can help more students. Our current project is to sponsor books for the library, medical supplies, bicycles, art supplies, science supplies for 2,000 students in Thailand (16 rural schools).

Bag Description
Borboleta Bag, Mini Treasure Bag, Scientific leather (100% microfiber), US$126 Borboleta Bag, Treasure Box Bag, Scientific leather(100% microfiber), US$168

See other finalists from the 2019 handbag awards