Beara Beara Leather Bags Back Story

CityLifeStyle Beara Beara The Back Story (1)

Beara Beara Leather Bags
The Back Story

The sto­ry of our brand starts with a jour­ney through Latin Amer­i­ca. As a trav­el writer at the time, Jake Bul­lough was liv­ing in Bolivia, writ­ing about people’s lives whom he encoun­tered. In La Paz, the cap­i­tal of Bolivia, he met the won­der­ful Julia, who along with her extend­ed fam­i­ly have been mak­ing and sell­ing leather bags from a tiny shop in the back streets of the city for many years. Intrigued by the com­bi­na­tion of incred­i­ble crafts­man­ship and qual­i­ty mate­ri­als, they began col­lab­o­rat­ing, turn­ing Jake’s designs into a col­lec­tion of nev­er seen before handbags.

With Bolivia being such an iso­lat­ed coun­try, Jake’s idea was to pro­vide Julia’s strug­gling busi­ness and sub­se­quent oth­ers, with a sub­stan­tial amount of work with which would bring in much need­ed finances and even­tu­al­ly improve their stan­dards of liv­ing. The idea of encour­ag­ing employ­ment has always been a huge moti­va­tion­al fac­tor and we now pro­vide full or part time employ­ment to over forty people.

CityLifeStyle Beara Beara The Back Story (2)

Our ever expand­ing net­work of crafts­men are also moti­vat­ed by the fact that their hard work, skill and tra­di­tion is being appre­ci­at­ed world­wide. To make our bags more unique we have been using vin­tage Andean cloths, known local­ly as aguayos’. All antique aguayos are hand woven and defined by the region where they are made. The art of mak­ing these won­der­ful cloths has been passed down through gen­er­a­tions, over hun­dreds of years and reflects the his­to­ry of the indige­nous cul­tures in Bolivia.

Our hope is that every­one who pur­chas­es a Beara Beara appre­ci­ates the skill, deter­mi­na­tion, respect and love that goes into mak­ing each indi­vid­ual bag. Our prod­ucts are not only unique but extreme­ly durable made from raw cows hide we source from the low­land areas in Bolivia. We respect the desire to buy a hi-fash­ion brand but are pleased to see that there are still plen­ty of peo­ple who appre­ci­ate qual­i­ty and take pride in cre­at­ing their own indi­vid­ual style.

Although the brand is based in London, our work in Bolivia is just as important. From day one the concepts of providing employment and improving livelihoods were integral to the kind of company we wanted to build.

CityLifeStyle Beara Beara The Back Story Our Bolivian Family Of Workers

When we began work­ing with our sup­pli­ers most of whom were caught in a nev­er end­ing cir­cle of man­u­fac­tur­ing bags that sold for very lit­tle and next to no prof­it. They worked with their small fam­i­ly team in a clut­tered out­house or base­ment and lacked the knowl­edge of how to make a busi­ness profitable.

When we vis­it our sup­pli­ers now we are proud to see the influ­ence we have had. Gone are the cramped quar­ters and the anti­quat­ed machin­ery. We do still use tra­di­tion­al tech­niques to mea­sure, cut, stain, emboss and stitch the leather, how­ev­er it is now a time effi­cient process with less risk and wastage involved. Our work­force has grow sig­nif­i­cant­ly and we are delight­ed to see new faces in the work­shops every time we visit.

Our mae­stros (the most expe­ri­enced crafts­men) train new younger work­ers with the skills nec­es­sary to cre­ate bags to a high qual­i­ty. Most of the trainees work for sev­er­al months as an assis­tant before mov­ing to a per­ma­nent posi­tion where they are then respon­si­ble for their part of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process.

It is usu­al­ly quite a calm atmos­phere as every­one focus­es on their work how­ev­er at break­time it is very dif­fer­ent with lots of loud chat­ter, fuss­ing over sib­lings and the occa­sion­al hys­ter­ics. Our work­ers clock in and out and work around their oth­er life com­mit­ments. Many are uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents pay­ing for their edu­ca­tion by work­ing half-days and week­ends, some women only work morn­ings as they look after their chil­dren in the after­noons. We enjoy spend­ing our time with the peo­ple that work so hard for us and whom I like to think we reward for that dedication.

We have so many plans in the pipeline such as after schools pro­grams, addi­tion­al work­shop facil­i­ties and com­mu­ni­ty pro­grams which we hope to get going over the com­ing year, how­ev­er these things take a lot of plan­ning and we know that its impor­tant to take things one step at a time.

CityLifeStyle Beara Beara The Back Story Leather InspectionCityLifeStyle Beara Beara The Back Story Hand Crafted Leather