We are a leather accessories company. We serve communities worldwide with history steeped in leather. Some of our customers are Leather people. So first, and foremost, we don't wish to start a debate about leather.
We will always offer predominantly genuine leather products. But we recognize that there are a multitude of reasons why some choose not to use animal by-products, so we are always working to offer alternatives. And we get a lot of questions about those alternatives, which we'd like to formally address.
Do you offer vegan faux leather?
As of right now, yes, we do carry a faux leather made from PVC in the shop, in black.
Will you offer other vegan leather colors?
This is where things get sticky. We are very selective about the colors we design with. We intentionally design things outside the norm for BDSM gear. We generally stick to what we know best: high femme and modern fashion. So when deciding on colors to add to the shop, we need to make sure that what we choose will suit the expectations of our brand, and our design sensibilities. That's a fancy way of saying we are picky about what colors we want to work with.
When it comes to genuine leather, there is a literal rainbow of color, texture, finish, and feel on the market. With faux leather, the selection is far from optimal. In fact, we've yet to find any colors of faux leather we'd be thrilled to invest in outside of black.
And that's main the reason we currently only offer black. Black with rose gold is by far our best seller.
Most importantly, the main struggle for us in carrying faux leather is that we don't sell very much of it.
Another reason is the cost. Most faux leather of quality is more expensive than genuine leather.
We're a super small business of two people. Investing in a new color is one of the largest investments we make as a company. And it's a huge risk each time, hoping it will sell well.
Now, I'm not going to lie to you and pretend that making a profit isn't important to us. We need to make a profit to keep the company afloat, to reinvest in new materials to create with so we can offer new products, and to pay our bills.
It's a combination of all of these reasons that we have not expanded our vegan leather options.
Will you continue to offer faux leather?
That's the million dollar question right now. We need to sell more faux leather if we want to invest in more faux leather.
I'll be brutally honest and say that it's possible we may not have the means to restock our faux leather when it runs out.
What about sustainability?
We've done a lot of research, and the truth is, the fashion industry as a whole is only just starting to pay attention to sustainability.
And we give a shit about sustainability. We do. However, at the moment, neither the leather, nor faux leather industries are making leaps and bounds when it comes to sustainability. Some leather tanning practices are toxic. Most faux leather manufacturing is very toxic. And sustainable faux leather is a brand new concept that a lot of innovators are exploring.
We even sourced a sustainable black faux leather made from cactus in Mexico, only to discover that it's more than twice the price of genuine leather, and it's so new that we don't have data on it's durability, strength, or longevity as bondage gear.
We don't wish to join the debate on genuine leather vs. PVC. On the one hand is an animal by-product that is durable, and will last generations if well-cared for. On the other is a plastic product that is harmful to the environment, but doesn't come from animals. We don't believe either category has a moral high ground. We believe opting for one or the other is a personal decision.
In fact, The Cut created this handy chart for deciding which one is right for you, and we think it perfectly sums up how deeply in the moral gray area either material is.
our sustainability practices
One of our goals for 2020, as we work on streamlining our practices so that we have the bandwidth to regularly add new products and continue the social justice work we've embarked upon, is to tighten up our own sustainability practices. As a super small business, we don't have the luxury of having products made for just for us, and in the past, we've done the best we can with whatever supplies we can get our hands on. As we grow, we hope to have the spending power to be 100% more intentional with which companies get our business, and how our supplies are made.
We'll touch more on that in a separate blog post soon.
At the end of the day...
It is disheartening to see comments and complaints that we don't offer more vegan options. But we understand that we can't cater to literally everyone. No company outside of WalMart or Amazon or big box stores like that even really attempt to.
We want to make high quality, beautiful, long lasting things for the people who are drawn to our style. We want to offer the best possible service to each and every one of our customers. And we want to everything we can to make positive change in our world.
We're brainstorming ways to get more traction for our vegan options, and we appreciate any feedback you might have. And in the meantime, we will keep looking for better options.