Welcome to my new series for Womenfolk: Inspirational Women. This series is about profiling women who are doing great things in their lives – be it with their careers, their family or their creativity. My hope is that through this series of profiles, you will find someone that resonates with you and gives you that little spark or push you need to do that something that you’ve always wanted to do.
First in the series is my gorgeous sister-in-law Nicole McDonald; the creative force behind Eco Collective Aus: Handmade In Australia with Love & Sustainability. Nicole makes a range of leather handbags, clutches, backpacks, iPhone and iPad covers, wallets and belts. Her creations are all made by hand, in her home on the Gold Coast.
The leather she uses is vegetable-tanned as opposed to chrome-tanned. Chrome tanning uses harsh chemicals to prime and dye the leather. Vegetable tanning uses barks, leaves and rind to tan and colour the leather, so it is much kinder to the earth and ultimately much better for the customer, as they are not carrying a bag that emits harsh chemicals, next to their skin.
Nicole first completed Certificate IV in Shoe Production and Design at RMIT in Melbourne, when her first child was a baby. Her intention was to design and make sustainable footwear, with a European aesthetic. Nicole is originally from Switzerland so is heavily influenced by European fashion and did not want to create clunky, heavy ‘hippy-style’ footwear. Her vision was very clear so she set about researching the most sustainable products, ranging from leather, glue and thread for sewing. [Read more…]