A luxury leather bag and a social conscience rarely go together. If there ever is mention of this it’s almost always centered around a limited edition product that’s partnered with the latest high profile charity. There’s nothing comprehensive or permanent about these efforts to make the world a better place and to accessorize women in an empowering way.
Avery Verse exists to completely redefine luxury and the customer experience.
My wife Christie and I financed the company through the sale of our family home, so when we say we want to do things differently, we really mean it, and have been willing to risk so much to do so.
Every decision that we made was informed by our conscience and by a believe in excellence in luxury without sacrificing ethics.
Firstly, we sought out an ancient, eco-friendly tanning process known as vegetable tanning, to prepare our Italian leather. This is a 6,000 year old way of preparing leather by having it soak in water full of fruits, vegetables, barks and other organic matter. There are no carcinogenic chemicals used and the water can be poured out without causing any harm to the environment.
This process takes up to sixty days to prepare the leather for manufacture and is therefore expensive. Because of this, the majority of luxury brands (between 85-90%) choose to use the toxic chemical, chromium, which can tan leather in a day and save them an incredible amount of money. However, this chromium tanning is known to give cancer to the tanners, can’t be recycled and produces a leather that smells chemically.
Next, we structured our company as a social enterprise. In everything we did, we wanted to marry business with charity, ensuring that we could help provide a continuous stream of financial resources to highly impactful groups. As such, 10% of the profits from every bag sold will go towards Water.org for 2017. This is a group that have worked for over two decades to provide access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation to millions of communities around the world.
What makes this so important to us is that our focus is always on the win-win. How can everyone benefit and all parties walk away happy? We believe that our job as a luxury brand is to provide fulfillment. We are offering something so much more than just another product, but that must extend to every facet of the customers experience including how their purchase makes the world a different place.
In continuing our focus on providing a fulfilling experience, we wanted to be an inclusive brand that don’t alienate or adversely impact customers with our advertising. The typical luxury brand uses airbrushed models and provocative but insensitive imagery to push their sales. This form of advertising however is known to be detrimental to a woman’s self esteem and flaunts an unrealistic and often ‘cold’ image.
In response, we have chosen to avoid the use of models, and let the quality and sophistication of our designer bags be their own glamour. This is an important consideration as many will see our marketing and not buy from us. So even in these moments where we aren’t benefiting via a sale, we still want to ensure that our impact on society and on others is positive and caring.
This is why we see our goal as a redefining of luxury. In all areas, luxury is often seen as a self-absorbed and uncaring pursuit, but it shouldn’t be this way, and at its core, truly isn’t. Luxury products are tools of elegance that anyone can use to express their dignity and unique soul.
That is why Avery Verse was built around the belief in providing fulfilment for our customers. Our designer bags can become so much more than just a vanity piece, but rather an accessory with which a woman can elevate her outfit to express who she is at her essence. This is the beauty and importance of fashion. It isn’t just something functional, nor is it something vain, but rather a means to express oneself the same as any artistic endeavor. What we choose to adorn ourselves with says a lot about who we are.
Finally, in our efforts to redefine luxury, we are advocating an honest pricing methodology. Luxury brands inflate their prices on average by 13% annually to appear more luxurious. The psychology is that a higher price equals better quality, so by simply increasing the price of a bag, it must therefore be superior to others.
This isn’t true.
And we war against this idea daily by creating a superlative quality bag at an accessible and true price. This is really what luxury ought to be. Something that is excellently designed, honest and considerate of the world we live in.
So, in these ways, and many more, Avery Verse are working to completely change and reposition the luxury industry into something that is fulfilling on multiple levels to consumers by marrying business with charity.
Co-Founder at Avery Verse Bag Company