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Tesoro's Tongue — ethical fashion

Come with us behind the scenes of Tesoro Design! Here, we document our experiences of running a handmade in America leather handbag company. Updated daily.

The Patriarchy and Handbags as Status Symbols

How do you define luxury? For a small business like mine, in an industry where what you buy can often change people's perception of  your  social status a  luxury handbag does a lot more than just hold your stuff. When I started my business at 23, my main experience with the handbag industry had been in Florence, Italy. A place where artisans are deeply appreciated and valued.. I was approaching the development of my product from the Italian, artisan perspective: well made, well designed, functional. Naively, It didn’t immediately occur to me how obsessed we are with brand labels--particularly when it comes to handbags.     And why is that? Why are we so obsessed with a label? Why do women...
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Pricing Transparency - Find out how we price our bags

The Chelsea bag is one of our most popular bags. We love it because you can you can wear it as a crossbody or shoulder bag. Some can even also be worn as a backpack. Switch up the chain color or crossbody strap to make it your own!  Raw Materials-  Leather- About $70. Leather is tough to price because it doesn't come to us like fabric. Certain hides can be shorter, wider, some have more scaring and others have a wide variation of weight which can't always be used for each bag piece.  Short Strap- $17.50. The short strap is made by an equestrian company in the Lancaster area. They are sturdy and sleek! I don't have the machine that...
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DIY -- A Tool Everyone Should Own

A rotary hole punch. A tool as useful as a drill or hammer. I genuinely believe that after years of leather working, and owning a retail store, you need one of these tools. My most requested “repair” or easy fix is adding a hole to a belt or purse strap. The wheel turns so you can pick the size of the hole you need to punch. Then, all you have to do is squeeze the handles and VOILA, you have a new hole that you are able to adjust your belt to. The kicker? A rotary hole punch only cost around $20-$40, depending on the quality. Check out the links below to grab the most useful tool in my studio...
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How are you feeling?

Hey Everyone What a crazy world we are living in. I made the graphic "how are you feeling" because it is how I have been starting all my conversations this week. Instead of "how are you doing?". I think it is pretty clear that day to day, we are doing ok. Many of us have a safe roof over our heads, access to food and medication, and clean drinking water. We are the lucky ones in many ways.   How we are feeling is a much different question. I have a lot of small business owner friends, nurse friends, new parent friends and even friends who have been laid off or have voluntarily stopped working for others safety. Day to...
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Slow Fashion for all sizes in Philly

PLEASE NOTE - THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO COVID-19.  We've partnered with Alice Alexander to bring you a weekend long IN PERSON event on Saturday May 16th and Sunday May 17th in Philadelphia celebrating inclusive, sustainable, ethical fashion. A weekend of community  Mingle and network with likeminded folksEat, drink, and enjoy live music Shop our slow fashion marketplace with diverse retailers (in price point and size). All apparel retailers will carry up to a lease a size 22 with the majority of retailers carrying up to a 28/30 and several plus size exclusive retailers. Vendors include slow, sustainable, ethical brands as well as vintage and consignment. A little bit of everything!Dynamic speakers ready to inspire and uplift Interactive panels facilitating...
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The dangers of letting fast fashion companies off easy.

Welcome to the rant wheel! (Lovett or Leave It podcast listeners, welcome!)  I recently read an article that H&M is now using wine waste to create their leather products Cool. I guess? There are a lot of companies bragging about their newfound desire to be more sustainable, and I am on board for it. But I think there is something so telling about the fashion industry, when multiple news sources consider this a “win”. H&M is one of the largest fast fashion companies in the world. They don’t pay their Retail workers and garment workers a living wage, either here in the US in store or overseas. I can’t help but think that this new race to be more sustainable...
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An Ethical Diaper Bag is Coming!

My journey into the market of all things pregnant women/babies/toddlers started when my baby sister got pregnant in 2019. It was the first time I really did any research into the mommy market (my term, not an industry one). I quickly realized that most of the products out there are either so plain it hurts, or so girly/paisley patterned, lace trimmed and just straight up unattractive. This description fits for strollers, car seats, baby clothes and more than anything else, diaper bags.  After lots of searching I couldn't find any diaper bags made of high quality leather, that was functional both while you had a little one, and once you went back to your work life, or just your regular...
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Clapping back at Vogue

I used to read Vogue like it was the guide book of my life. It was my favorite thing to get in the mail, it was my daily outfit inspiration in high school (instagram and pinterest didn't exist back then), and I felt that if I was going to be a designer, getting published in Vogue would be the only thing that would make me a success.  Boy have my feelings changed. I recently started reading some of their articles about ethical and sustainable fashion and found myself deeply frustrated. They were talking to big brands/names like Stella McCartney, and I found myself wondering what the hell she knows about ethical or sustainable fashion, so I started trying to research...
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5 Things to Know Before Buying a Leather Bag

Not all leather is made the same. Whether this is a new or old fact to you, there are many things that go into producing leather goods, some of which are very easy to overlook. I have compiled a list of my top 5 things you should know before purchasing a leather bag, to help guide you during your next leather purchase.  1. Keep an eye out for leather with a cross-hatch finish. If you see a finish on the leather that resembles light scratching or cross-hatching, it is very likely that this leather is a bonded leather. Bonded leather is made up of the hide leftovers. This includes dust and shavings. These are bonded together using polyurethane or latex...
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Ethical Fashion Holiday Gift Guide

It's that time of the year again, the Holidays are here! And that means we get to tell you about some of our favorite local ethical brands and makers.  This year we're going to sort our brands by the products they make. Starting with the thing you likely do first in the morning, put your clothes on!  Alice Alexander The designer behind Alice Alexander is a beautiful, 6ft tall women who had trouble finding clothes that truly fit her, so she decided to create her own collection. She has since hired multiple female seamstresses that benefit from a flexible schedule and fair pay. She is a direct to consumer brand which means she keeps her prices fair by cutting out the...
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