The largest 15 container ships emit the same emissions as 735 million cars.
Creating goods that reduce our impact on the environment is why Baxley began.
We aren't perfect.
But, from the smallest design decision to the furthest shipping distance — we're constantly trying to reduce our footprint and increase our positive impact.
We're plenty aware of the irony in wanting to help the environment by creating more products. So, before we begin creating anything, questions are asked. Surveys are sent out. Extensive observation and research occurs to make sure what we make fills a need that hasn't yet been met.
And then we obsess over the details and spend months sketching ideas. Multiple prototypes are made, and tested, and refined again before going into production. And even then, surveys are sent to owners, so that we can continue to improve our designs.
We don't just want to make bags. We want to make the best damn bags possible — goods worth keeping forever.
Made locally, in Sussex, UK
When we began, it was suggested that we ship the British canvas (that we wanted) to factories in China to make our bag, and then ship it back to the UK to be sold (and distributed) around the world. It was simply how companies could make the most money, and how the industry works. The transportation footprint of this horrified us.
Instead, we've chosen to work with just one manufacturing studio that's a short drive from our homebase. It's certainly not the easier path to profit. But, by keeping it all close to home, we're able to guarantee the quality of materials, quality of production, quality of life for the skilled makers, and avoid an epic amount of unnecessary carbon emission. And we've gained close friends who share our values.
21 separate items are needed to produce one of our Rolltop bags. It isn't possible to find all these materials in the UK (many simply are no longer made here), so when we look for materials we judge each item by it's quality, cost, sustainability and distance. We're always trying to source new suppliers closer to home. The smaller we can keep the footprint of each item we make, the happier we'll be.
Small batch production
The amount of waste in fashion — unsold products, unsaleable returned goods, lines that were cut, etc — is horrifying. (In 2018, a cornerstone luxury brand was discovered to have burned £28m worth of stock rather than have their name devalued.)
With an abhorrence for waste, we make only as many goods as are needed. Our limited runs are sold through a pre-order model, so that we only make as many goods as have homes; and our permanent collection is made in small batches that we can replenish only when there is demand.
GOTS-certified organic fabric and dye
Standard cotton is grown using pesticides and without any standard for oversight. Organic cotton requires that pesticides are fully avoided — thereby avoiding these dangerous chemicals from seeping into the water-stream and endangering the farmers and nearby communities. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) oversees not just the adherence to chemical avoidance, but also ensures the welfare of workers.
All our canvas and dye is GOTS-certified organic.
Fluorocarbon free (FCF)
Fluorocarbons are extremely persistent chemicals which are typically used for making materials water-resistant (raincoats, waterproof shoes and bags — yup, these probably have them). But what makes them effective also makes them horrific — they're 6x more potent to the environment than CO2 and incredibly difficult to breakdown (one statistic estimates their durability at around 50,000 years).
We're grateful that the Scottish mill we work with has developed a highly effective, fluorocarbon-free alternative. It's what we use, and we splash in puddles all the happier for it.
About 90% of leather in use today is 'chrome tanned'. It uses a process that produces pliable leather in less than a day. But this speed comes at a price — the chrome tanning process requires an enormous amount of chemically treated water to penetrate the leather, which results in a vast quantity of incredibly toxic waste water that is often unregulated and untreated.
Vegetable-tanned leather requires a far lengthier process — 30-60 days. But, with only natural items used to tan the leather, the water remains clean and the leather is able to safely biodegrade when its use is over.
Though we use veg-tanned leather exclusively for the small instances where we use leather, we'd prefer to remove ourselves from the leather industry altogether. We haven't found a suitably hard-wearing and environmentally-responsible alternative yet, but are constantly looking and testing.