We are proud stockists of The Loyal Workshop - leatherwares and a business for freedom. We are passionate about this brands ethics and processes so we have put together some frequently asked questions as a resource to help you understand what they’re all about.

Who are The Loyal Workshop?

The Loyal Workshop are a small Kiwi-owned ethical business training Artisans to craft quality leather goods and offer alternative employment to women trapped in the sex trade in Kolkata, India.

Their eco veg-tanned leather products are handstitched by a woman fighting for freedom.

Founded in May 2014 by Kiwi couple Sarah and Paul Beisly The Loyal Workshop not only offers choice but also healthcare, exit support from the complexities of slavery, a living wage and education to the women who work with them.

The Loyal Workshop

 

How do TLW help women leave the sex trade?

Becoming free from slavery is a complex journey - The Loyal Workshop are committed to offering women freedom and ongoing support on that journey. Their business is relational and involved in maintaining established relationships in the community with those who understand and support their cause in providing alternate employment for women in the sex trade - they do not perform raids or rescue girls from their situation but offer choice.

How many women do they work with?

The Loyal Workshop currently work with 11 women, who you can read more about on The Loyal Workshop meet the artisan page. On the inside of each satchel you will also find the name signature of the woman who made it.

The Loyal Workshop Artisan

Cow leather in a majority hindu country? Aren’t cows sacred?

While cows are sacred to Hindu’s, most of the tanneries in India are owned and operated by Muslim’s or Chinese Indians. Once the hide has been tanned Hindu’s view leather as just another material.

How can the leather be eco friendly?

The Loyal Workshop tanner is located in a government administered leather complex which is connected with a centralised effluent system - so no harmful waste is being dumped into waterways. Tanner, Patrick Lee, developed his own eco-tanning process - while a secret recipe it contains no toxic chromium used in almost all tanning these days.

The Loyal Workshop Goodstead

How is leather ethical?

Patrick Lee, the tanner, has high ethical standards one of the reasons The Loyal Workshop work with him - he looks after his staff and the environment as much as he can.

The skins used for tanning are sourced as locally as possible to the tannery in order to keep a low carbon footprint and to ensure their origin. Where possible hides are sourced from animals who have died of natural causes, alternatively he uses hides of cows which have been killed for meat and would otherwise go to waste. As far as leather goes, it doesn't get much more ethical than Patrick. We hope that helps a little.

Are they fair trade?

The Loyal Workshop are not Fair Trade certified (at this stage) but they trade fair. The Loyal Workshop have ensured they have very high ethical standards and trade fairly.

The Loyal Workshop Artisan

Are they a charity?

No, the ladies of The Loyal Workshop work hard for their monthly income, empowering them with legitimate employment. TLW are an Indian Registered Private Limited Company, with an aim to make a profit. How this profit is used and how they do business is what makes them different.

Is the loyal workshop against legalized prostitution?

“We don’t want to be people against the sex-trade, instead we want to be for freedom. From years of personally getting to know many women in the sex-trade, we can’t see how legitimising an oppressive and corrupt system will help the women and children that are enslaved. The women we know in the sex-trade work hard and sacrificially so that their daughters will not work in the trade. Not a single woman wants sex work to be a choice for her daughter, so we stand with them in their fight for dignified employment.” TLW


To learn more about TLW and hear their story. 

The Loyal Workshop

Read our The Loyal Workshop Blog here