Why Cork Should be the New Leather
An interview with Keshsa Vasant, co-founder of Arture
In today’s world of fashion, it’s not as hard as you may think it is to find brands who are striving to create sustainable and ethically-made products.
In fact, we were introduced to the brand Arture via Facebook!
Sometimes that’s all you need to do. Be curious, do research, and ask around. You’ll be surprised to find how easy it is to discover emerging brands who are truly creating something special and intentional.
In today’s interview, we’re chatting with Keshsa Vasant, one of the founders of Arture.
Arture is an accessory brand mainly consisting of wallets, handbags, and travel accessories for men and women. It is a cruelty-free collection and is made with 100% natural cork fabrics from the Mediterranean.
When perusing their website, you’ll find that there is quite a bit of information about cork. In fact, did you know that cork is 100% eco-friendly and natural? There are also many unique qualities that cork has such as being fully water-resistant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, fireproof, and even buoyant!
Cork is truly a unique material to work with a fashion company, which is why we were drawn to Arture in the first place.
By taking this super eco-friendly and cruelty-free approach, Arture has even earned the PETA - approved vegan certification.
Based in Chennai India, the founding duo Keshsa and Shivani both had a strong desire to create something sustainable, practical, cruelty-free, yet fashionable.
About three years ago they set off to create just that.
After launching a successful Indiegogo campaign they were able to produce their first batch of products.
So what is your career background, and how did you get your start on Arture?
“I am a Marketing Major. My masters and undergraduate has all been in Marketing. After finishing my masters in the US, I was on a sabbatical to be with my grandmother in India. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I always wanted to do something on my own. My search led to the conversation with Shivani and thus Arture was born.”
Why did you start your brand?
"Both Shivani and I are big animal lovers. It disturbed both of us to see how leather was obtained. It definitely was not a pretty sight. At the time, we did not find anything that was sustainable, durable at the same time eco-friendly. We were looking for alternatives to leather. That's when Shivani stumbled upon cork fabrics. It was perfect in every way - vegan, durable, sustainable, easy to use. This was our way of giving back to those we loved the most.
Describe Arture in your own words:
“Less is more. We strongly believe in minimalism, functionality, and sustainability. Arture assures the highest quality lifestyle accessories that are forever. Utmost care is taken in procuring our materials to ensure that least harm is done to the environment, and we believe in ethical practices at every stage of our business.
The lifestyle of our customers is a key consideration while making any of our designs. “
ON TAKING THE ETHICAL ROUTE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
What inspired you to want to go the sustainable/ethical route?
"Our tagline is Fashion does not have to come at the price of a life. We believe that for us to enjoy our life, it does not necessarily have to come by hurting someone. This was our inspiration to go sustainable. Every living being should live in peace and in harmony with each other."
What's been the best thing that's happened in your business so far?
"A lot of things. Our PETA certification, setting up our little manufacturing unit and our customers. I think that is the best thing. We have some really amazing customers and because of them, we are who we are today. They have been kind, patient, and have become a part of our loyal family."
What's been your biggest struggle thus far in your entrepreneurial journey?
"When we started a couple of years ago, our biggest struggle was to fight the stereotype that leather is the best. Lots of people asked us "why cork when I can get leather for the same price?" It was then when they started trying our accessories that they changed their minds and started to talk to their friends about it."
What would your ultimate goal/dream be for your brand?
"When people think about buying a bag, we would like to be on top of their minds. We want to change people's perspective about leather alternatives. That yes, they definitely can be a good choice which is durable and sustainable at the same time."
We absolutely love what Keshsa and Shivani have set out to accomplish. These two ladies knew what they wanted to create, had a specific vision and goals, and truly made it happen.
In addition to wanting to create sustainable, cruelty-free products they also have partnered with ResQ a not-for-profit animal charity.
This charity provides medical aid and rehabilitation for animals that face injury or adversity and any kind of physical or psychological abuse.
By supporting Arture, your purchases are also going to this amazing cause to help animals in need.
So what more could you ask for in a product? Sustainable, practical, eco-friendly, vegan, PETA approved, helping animals, AND stylish?
Shop Arture and follow their journey on Instagram.