The shadow + the light: being conscious while using leather applications

Jennifer Boonlorn

Posted on November 02 2015

I recently have been challenged about the use of the word "conscious" in my branding, while using leather and animal products in my handbags.

The comments sting because those making them have no idea that 1) I am very passionate about conscious-mindful living, and the concept of waking up to live a more enlightened life and 2) I DO struggle and question my use of leather!!! I am not using conscious as a buzz word, I truly mean to live my life by it, AND use it as the foundation upon which I build Soul Carrier!

I aim to show up fully in each and every moment, to be aware of my actions and the impact they have on others, and to put integrity over the easy way out, and ethics over cutting corners.

I mindfully weigh my options when making a choice and I think about the reprocussions of that choice.

I have started to refrain from indulging in alcohol, red meat and unhealthy foods, even staying out super late. I want extreme clarity and a vibrancy to lead this business, and those things only get in the way, drag me down, and pull me away from my true north.

I have poured hours into seeing a life coach and therapist, devoured self-development books, and spent weekends putting myself through the intensely-grueling yet very eye-opening Landmark Forum courses.

I am not trying to say Look at me, I have got the RIGHT way figured out, I am ENLIGHTENED. Far-far from it! I am just as human as the next person and I have access to both illumination and darkness, shadow and light, on a daily basis.

The way I view it, is, life is a continuum and we are all constantly evolving and growing. My "best choice" today, will be very different than "my best choice" in the future. It's all an evolution. And my evolution is far from over, as are my design collections and my textile choices.

In this very moment, I am activley wresting with the controversial use of leather!

I have watched the documentaries (True Cost is a must see for anyone that wears clothing!!), the TEDtalks, and read what is going on in the leather industry, and listened to Rich Roll's podcasts with vegan designers. It is not pretty, and as I move towards becoming a Benefit Corp my own values, ethics and choice of leathers are deeply coming into question. 

I have used "vegan" leathers in the past and they are drastically inferior from the real deal. Vegan leather was never to the standard my customers would appreciate, and as I read about how fake leather was made, I was not all that enthralled either. From what I understand, cattle ranching has a horrible impact upon the enviorment, AND producing plastic leather also has a negative impact.

I am in a deep inquiry into what direction I will move in next, and in this given moment all I can do is be conscious of that, be mindful of what is going, and be aware of the impact either route would take me.

There are women in New York City who are learning to grow leather textiles out of fermented Kombucha tea, I find this ABSOLUTELY fascinating!!! And someday would love to use this application in my designs - unfortunately it is still a few years out from being ready as a textile.

As I look at those I want to serve, and the contribution I want to make by bringing Soul Carrier to the world, I have to take into account that 127 Kickstarter backers plus another 55 invidual sales post Kickstarter, are telling me they love this current collection which is made from leather, they love Soul Carrier, and they are a going to pledge their money for my creations.

My intention is never ever to hurt animals, abuse those that make my products, or harm the enviornment or make a bigger mess than what already exists within the leather industry. I want to contribute to a solution not add to the problem.

I am doing the best I can, with the resources I have, and with what access I have in terms of textiles. The Soul Carrier story is far from over and what comes next just might be the most spectacular non-animal leather product. Or it could continue to be leather handbags sourced from a sustainable source.

Brene Brown has a quote that proclaims "Unless you are in the arena getting your ass kicked, I am not interested in your opinions!" This quote warms my soul every time a snide comment comes my way. It is super easy to get all judgmental and superior from the safety of our smart phones, however, unless you are in the trenches actively trying to figure it out, I am only going to let your comment guide me to further pull my and Soul Carrier's truth to the surface. It's a lot easier to point out and say what is wrong then to get out there and come up with solution.

I have not come to terms with where the chips will permanently for now I am going to continue to educate myself, learn, grow and make the best choice I can with where I am at in this given moment, which to me is EXACTLY what conscious means. 

Signing off with a committment to continue to stay with it and figure it be mindful and to let consciousness guide me every step of the way!



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