I am the “boss lady” of Banda Bags. I am so happy to share our story with you. In 2011 I came to Sumatra and fell in love with the wild, natural beauty and exotic culture that was so foreign to my soul. One day, I stumbled upon some artisans selling these incredibly stunning handbags. I purchased a few to bring back home (never knowing this purchase would change mine and the artisans’ lives in the future!) People would walk across the street to stop me and inquire about my gorgeous bag. They are seriously head-turning! Overtime it dawned on me that these bags needed to be shared with the world. But what I eventually found out that was even more important was that going back and building this brand meant helping empower and support women while reviving a dying, traditional embroidery. In 2015, I moved to Sumatra permanently and since then I’ll admit its been quite a journey for an American woman living in a very remote, devout Muslim region and running a business!
But I am so proud of how far we have come. What started with only a few artisans has now expanded across the province and we have a training program to help teach women of all ages a new trade so that they can make their own money and be empowered to make their own choices for their life - no more prearranged marriages under my watch! Sadly, that is the fate of many women in this part of the world, and in fact, worldwide. When women don’t have an education or opportunity in life they are left without much options and sometimes are quite literally sold off by family. I am so grateful for the freedom and privileges I have been given so it is my mission to help other women gain that privilege, too. By lending your support to Banda Bags you are also joining that mission.
So I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means the world to me and these beautiful women!
Hello beautiful souls!
My name is Brianna.
Banda Bags Community!
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Where Fashion Minded Meets Mindful
In the heart of fashion's interplay with women's empowerment and community unity, you're at the right place if you wish to honor culture with a unique piece. Our tale started in 2015 in Sumatra, where we breathed life into a fading art: traditional embroidery. We intertwined it with modern designs, giving birth to an ethically fashionable collection, the Banda Bags.
Here, fashion tells a story.
When women are empowered, communities thrive! We support girls who want to learn a trade...women who don’t want to settle for an arranged marriage...moms who want to be able to work from home…retirees who don’t want to labor outdoors anymore…aspiring fashion designers who want to showcase their talent to the world.
In today’s fashionable world, fast and cheap seems to dominate. But have you considered the people who make the bags? What do you think they earn if you are paying so little for an item? That is not the narrative here at Banda Bags. Everyone deserves the right for fair pay, fair trade and fair labor practices.
We feel it is our duty to leave the lightest footprint possible. We plant one tree for each order and we are committed to sourcing more sustainable materials in our production process. Currently we use a recycled nylon (RPET) material for the outer material. Our goal is to use waste-plastic thread for the embroidery with organic cotton, hemp or canvas for the interior lining.
All of these women have a story . All of these women want to live a better life. We all deserve that right. it is my mission to support these wonderful women and your support helps!
“This is Gita, our youngest artisan, yet don’t let her age fool you, she is incredibly talented! She has been watching her grandma sew since a child and fashion runs in her blood. She is helping design bags while also lending herself to the embroidery aspect.”
“Meeting with the team at Rini, one of our artisan’s, home. Here we discussed the future of production, increasing the purchase of sewing machines and offering more training programs for women.”
“This is one of the bubbliest artisans working for Banda Bags! Almitra is always a joy to be around, she is full of so much light and positivity. She was a victim of the 2004 tsunami and lost many family members. Despite the tragedies in her life, she inspires us to live a life a happiness regardless of circumstances.”
“This is Putri. She joined Banda Bags in 2016. She has fine-tuned her craft and has been putting away money for her future wedding, which traditionally her family is supposed to pay for, but they could not afford. Fortunately, she is now able to have the wedding of her dreams!.”
“This is Banda Bags. A group of hard-working women who want to have a better future for themselves and their family! We pride ourselves on creating a work atmosphere that allows flexibility to raise your children and be able to make an income at the same time!.”
“Meet Rini! She is one of our head producers. She helps to manage a group of 10 artisans. She started out just as embroidery specialist, but has since become the head of operations for the training program. She is as beautiful as she is talented!.”