Social Responsibility

Divina Denuevo is committed to socially responsible business practices that involve minimizing our eco-footprint, supporting local businesses in preference to those overseas and incorporating as much eco-friendly materials into our business as possible. Here’s just some of the stuff that’s really important to us:

Our Leather comes from a few different sources

  • We work with other leather goods manufacturers and collect their remnant leather (the off-cuts that remain as scraps after they have used the part of the hide that they require for their products). This means we’re actively reducing waste by minimizing what these companies would otherwise be discarding. As a result, however, a lot of our pieces are limited edition and only available while that particular batch of leather lasts.
  • We purchase odd-lots that our suppliers need to get rid of. When a particular type of leather isn’t selling, or is no longer in production, often leather houses will try and liquidate all the hides they have of that type of leather – but that can prove difficult if the demand for that leather just isn’t there. If they don’t sell, they end up being discarded – so we try and buy as much of that as possible and make limited runs of our designs.
  • We buy “seconds” – the leather no one else wants because it has brand marks, scuffs, scars and scratches – all indicative of the animal’s life and history. Most fashion houses don’t want leather with markings because their goal is to achieve perfect uniformity in their pieces – all their work needs to look the same for mass production. We’re the opposite – we love to embrace the ‘perfect imperfections’ found in leather, and are fascinated by the story that the scars and marks can tell you about that piece of leather. Since we’re a small boutique line that focuses on unique one-of-a-kind or one-of-a-few pieces, we can indulge in marked leather.
  • We work with local leather distributors as much as possible to help stimulate our local economy and encourage the artisan community.
  • We are currently exploring what’s called “hunter kill” leather. Exactly as the name suggests, this leather comes from hunters who killed the animal for its meat. Here the hide is a by-product of skinning the animal for sustenance, making it the least wasteful source of leather.

We don’t discard leather

    • We have designated “Scrap Days” where we use only our scraps to create. This is how our cuffs and key chain fobs came to exist. When the pieces are even too small for that, we take them to a textile recycling facility rather than throwing them in the garbage.
Our hardware accents are recycled vintage or antique
  • We visit our local scrap yards, estate sales, antique stores and junkyards in search of the metal hardware and ornaments that we use on our bags. All our keys are antique and would otherwise be case aside out of redundancy- we don’t use reproductions! We believe in keeping metal out of the landfill by making it into a functional piece of art.
We try and purchase used equipment instead of new:
  • When we started we were sewing with an antique – a 1929 Singer that we bought in an antique mall on Vancouver Island. We still use that singer, but eventually graduated to a leather-specific sewing machine. Our current leather sewing machine, a PFAFF workhorse named Madeleine came to us second hand.
  • Our mechanical press, the newest addition to our family (“Maximus”) is over 60 years old. He’s older than we are and ever-so wise. He also looks really cool – they just don’t make them like they used to.

Our Packaging is made from 100% recycled paper:

    • Our business cards, flyers, packaging and even mailing envelopes are all made with Kraft paper, which is 100% recycled, and made in North America from at least 50% post-consumer waste.
    • Our printers use only vegetable and soy-based inks and dyes which are less harmful to the environment than their petroleum counterparts
    • We print locally in Vancouver as much as possible, and when we need to go further afield, we print on the West Coast (California) to minimize our carbon footprint (and our printer is a certified B Corp, along with a whole host of other environmental certifications and audit checks)
    • We use padded mailers instead of bubble mailers. Bubble mailers may be made with recycled paper, but they have plastic (bubble wrap) making them difficult to recycle. Padded mailers can easily be recycled because they are padded with recycled newspaper fibers.

We are involved in local, charitable causes

  •  We’re so lucky to have such socially conscious and engaged customers! Rather than us choosing the charitable causes with which to align our brand, we let our customers, who are the lifeblood of our company do the choosing. Whenever we can, we donate to the causes they are passionate about.

We work with local not-for-profit organizations to help with our manufacturing

  •  While it’s just the two of us making everything ourselves, we work with a local not-for-profit to produce the removable fabric linings that go in our toiletry cases. This organization employs people within our community who are unable to work (due to disability or circumstances), giving them another source of income when they aren’t able to obtain a more conventional job.

We hug trees

  • Well, not as often as we’d like. But we do shop at the local farmer’s market as much as possible, opt for organic, local produce whenever possible, try to avoid purchasing any plastics, limit the use of our vehicles, and plant our own fruits and vegetables (here’s a pic of Victoria’s prize tomatoes)
  • We share our studio space, tools and general awesomeness with two other very cool businesses.
  • We even launched an event in our local community that’s all about reducing the amount of wasted, discarded clothing. It’s a giant clothing ‘re-sale’ that keeps clothes out of the landfills and encourages people to look at all they have.

Is there something else you think we could be doing? Let us know.