Tesoro Design was founded by Brit Reed out of her parents basement in 2013. After studying in Florence, Italy and NYC with the Fashion Institute Of Technology, Brit moved back to her home state to find her passion. Brit worked for small retail businesses, while discovering her love for leather working, and eventually made the leap to make Tesoro, her small but thriving leather company, her full time job in 2015.
Tesoro Design officially began in West Chester, PA in 2015 in another basement, this time a basement office. Brit slowly worked her way out of basements and into a retail store in West Chester in 2016 and with her first retail store came her first experience to show our customers how products were made in person. After just under two years in that space, Tesoro made the big move to South Philly. The retail shop was divided between a showroom and studio space, where all of the products were hand made right there in the store. Just before the pandemic, we expanded our business into a studio in MaKen in the Harrowgate neighborhood of North Philadelphia. Covid has since forced us to permanently close our retail shop because of changing shopping patterns. You can now shop our products online only!
Why are we so passionate about making our products in America? Great question! We believe that producing our bags in America is not only better for our communities, but also for the environment, and we aim to teach you a little more about the fashion industry along the way. Brits goal is to have a small factory where we can employ locals from the surrounding community to hand make each Tesoro product. Because everything is made here in Philly, we cut back on fossil fuels used for shipping, and work with tanneries in the USA who do more to protect their workers. We aim to show you how each purchasing decision you make drives the industry into a better place for the world as a whole. Conscious shopping is here to stay, and we are excited to be a part of this growing community.
After spending time at FIT, Brit started to realize how harmful fast fashion is to the world. Americans throw away 14 million tons of clothing every year! The best way to combat this kind of waste is to purchase well made items that are built to last a lifetime. The leather industry has many of its own issues. From workers being exposed to dangerous chemicals, to child labor, every piece of a handbag can have serious consequences. By working to educate people about these problems, we hope to help people understand the power they have to make a change and save lives. If you would like to learn a bit more about the leather industry, please head over to our blog, where we do some deep dives into problems and solutions.
By sourcing as many materials as possible from within the US, Brit hopes to teach her customers why it is important to care about the journey of a handbag before it is purchased.
The leather industry can be harmful to both the environment and those who work in its tanneries, particularly outside America where regulations are either less strict or nonexistent. By sourcing leather from within the US, Tesoro can provide handbags that do not contribute to the destruction of a country's natural resources, towns, and people.Sourcing materials within America and keeping production local significantly reduces Tesoro's carbon footprint. Fewer fossil fuels are used to ship materials needed to create a Tesoro bag. In addition, Brit uses local Pennsylvania companies to fulfill many of Tesoro's needs.
If you wish to read further about the leather industry's damaging effects please check out this article from the Pulitzer Center.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Tesoro Design. We are so passionate about creating products that are both beautiful and versatile.
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