So happy to have you at FELIZ this year. Can you share a bit about Unravel Co. and what you'll be bringing to the sale?
Unravel Co is a sustainable brand made to serve others, sustain traditional craftsmanship and build relationships. The brand evolved from a knitting business on Etsy early 2017 to a woven handbag and home goods line at the end of the same year. There's so many other things I want to do with Unravel Co, but we're taking things slow to work the kinks out before expanding to other countries and products. Our first community is located in Sherigu, Ghana, whom weave all of our product. Which is way north of Accra, the capitol most people are familiar with if you've been.
To list a few things, I'll be bringing some of our best seller items like the Elizabeth, more sandals and fans. Also, for our sold out products we will have the option to pre-order at FELIZ and notify you of the items process from Ghana to your home.
Unravel Co. is a sustainable brand you founded last year. Tell us about the Unravel Co. mission and how the importance of sustainability within fashion plays into that?
The whole purpose of Unravel Co is to show how you can have a business without producing excessively, have good quality products, avoiding material sources from nontransparent establishments and support others in their traditional crafts passed down from generations to generations. We are literally producing based on the capabilities of the artisans and trying our best to share the importance of supporting small businesses whom have the desire to better this world and not just themselves.
You collaborate with a Ghanaian community to produce your beautiful bags. Can you tell us how this partnership developed? What’s involved in the design and development of a new product?
The partnership started from stumbling on their social media account mid-summer of 2017. Once I did some research to reassure the NGO was valid I reached out with interests of wanting to collaborate for Unravel Co. One of the head members, Bonnie, really admired our mission so we began to discuss the idea of partnering together. After agreeing on terms we were connected to Fuseini, the man on ground, for the product development segment. The first few designs created were made from several inspirations compiled together. Most are from handbags I've owned for years, because I have an obsession with unique designs and other parts implemented are from random visuals that pop into my head after getting lost on Pinterest and study historical woven goods starting from the early 19th century.
After the research, final sketch designs are made then shared with Fuseini and the weavers. After discussing measurements and materials the head weavers practice the design to create samples for review. This can take up to 2-3 days. Once completed I'm either shipped the samples or review via images to make adjustments and the bulk order is made. By that time the hub of weavers in the community start creating the designs after practicing a few times to assure the design is made parallel to the sample. Sometimes it may not always be exact, since the product is handmade by several weavers. But we try our best to get closest as possible. Based on the order quantity it can take 7-10 days to complete the weaving part. But before that takes place the materials have to be gathered and harvested to prep straw. This can take a few days as well. Since the material markets are open on certain days and times of the week. Once the order is finished Fuseini send image and videos of the order before shipping through Ghana Post. The shipping takes the longest, ranging from 4-6 weeks.
We’ve seen transparency within the fashion industry becoming more and more common. How do you choose to be transparent within your own business and why do you think that it's important?
We have nothing to hide. Everything we do is shared with the world. The process, who we work with, videos and imagery directly from the artisans without tampering, expressing how long it takes for product to be made and arriving in the states (side note: which is practically a month or longer based on customs). You can even learn more about the community we work with on our site here. The page is called Transparency : a Q&A answered by the artisans, goals, how their NGO started, the evolution of business systems for the weavers and more.
It's important to be transparent in life and I'm happy it's becoming common in all areas including business. You can create loyal relationships if you're honest with yourself and in your work. Your story should have a heart and others should be able to see that in all aspects of a brand not just quantity and cheap prices.
Another reason transparency is important is for others to see the hard work that takes place in business, understanding the true value of something. Value won't be understood if the process is understated.
AND to get to know you a bit better…
Hometown: Corpus Christi, Tx
Astrological Sign: Leo.... But I'm right at the cusp of Cancer :)
What are some of your shopping philosophies? Purchase only what you NEED not what you want. Check where is it made from, manage a clothing swap with friends, go thrifting with some girls or alone if you're on one fo those who can shop for hours...raises hand (2nd hand is the best). Quality over quantity. Classics over fads.
What would we find you doing on a Sunday afternoon in Austin? Chilling after church and relaxing with my hubby over a blanket and snacks at Zilker.
Where do you find inspiration away from the computer? Traveling to new places sparks inspiration for me, because viewing the same thing can get boring and lifeless. One of my favorite trips that inspired me the most was the Philippines, San Fran and Toronto.
Last great travel destination? Philippines this past Jan/Feb. It was amazing and we even found a community there we hope to work with in the future.
Shop the beautiful artisan-made goods in person this Sunday (May 6th) at the Palm Door on Sabine. In the meantime, get inspired by the Unravel Co story here. See you at the sale!