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ABLE's Sustainable Leather

11/18/2021

ABLE's Sustainable Leather

Let’s talk about ABLE leather. Many of our top-selling pieces are leather goods that just can’t be beat. The lasting quality, subtle details, ultra functionality, and casual, lived-in look makes them easy to reach for season after season. To top it off, our leather goods are ethically made by women who have dignified jobs and are economically empowered to create a better future for themselves and their families. Not only is ABLE leather top-quality and ethically made, sustainability is woven into the whole process.

You may have heard how our leather comes as a byproduct of the meat industry, but what that really means – and what our philosophy is, especially when it comes to leather – is that we create leather goods as a way to keep materials out of a landfill while also creating dignified job opportunities for women. It’s a win-win.

Eliminating waste

To start, our vendors source their leather from tanneries that work with cattle ranchers to transform what would be wasted hides into the beautiful ABLE leather you wear today. All of the tanneries our vendors work with have closed water systems, which means the wastewater that is created in the tanning process is not polluting the local water with toxins.

On our end, we take into consideration the amount of material our vendors have to purchase to satisfy our order, what materials they have leftover from previous orders (from us or other clients), and the scraps that are created once the material is cut to create a product. While we thoughtfully design and produce a wide range of leather goods to offer our customer a variety of options that suit her needs, we are also doing some calculations for a more thoughtful and sustainable design. It’s not just about what will make the best-looking product or how many pieces to order, we literally design small leather goods with exact dimensions to use the waste that’s created from larger pieces.

Think of it like wrapping paper. We don’t buy just enough wrapping paper to wrap all of our gifts; we buy rolls of paper. If we only have a few items to wrap, we’re left with the “liability” of the rest of the roll – material we purchased but aren’t able to use. We can also get creative and use the scraps of paper to wrap smaller items like stocking stuffers to eliminate wastage. It’s the same idea with leather.

 

Liability leather

Our vendors purchase a certain amount of material and it’s often more than they need to fulfill an order. The leftover material is what we refer to as “liability leather.” They’ve paid for it, but rather than letting them waste that material or the money they spend on it, we intentionally design a limited run of exclusive products to use up that liability. “Exclusive” isn’t just a marketing term, we have actually created a product that won’t be available everywhere or forever because the material we used was the end of the roll, so to speak.

Beauty from scraps

We also take into consideration the smaller scraps that are leftover when material is cut to create a larger product. Our small leather goods are not just functional for you, they’re helpful in eliminating waste. We literally make beauty from scraps.

 

There is so much more behind ABLE leather that makes it extra special. But our favorite part, hands down, is how eliminating waste creates jobs. Our mission to economically empower women goes hand-in-hand with sustainable efforts. As we take quality material headed for a landfill and transform it into something beautiful and lasting, the lives of the women who make those leather pieces are also transformed.



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