Parker Clay creates leather hand luggage for men and women that are “built for adventure and styled for the city”.
Their luxurious eco-friendly luggage (which includes mostly carry-on options like weekender duffels, tablet and laptop cases, handbags, crossbody bags, backpacks, and totes) may not come cheap, but think of it as an investment, not just in the planet, but to the future family you might pass it down to… that’s how long they’re designed to last!
This Certified B-Corp states outright, “We believe that Parker Clay bags are the most ethical handbags made.”
Every purchase invests in the Ethiopian communities in which they are made. You see, Ethiopia is near and dear to co-founding couple Brittany and Ian. They adopted their two daughters from Ethiopia and even moved there for three years.
Is Parker Clay A Good Brand?
The answer is yes.
Parker Clay’s ethical hand luggage is made from premium Ethiopian full grain “sustainable leather”.
But wait, is ethical leather possible or even sustainable?
Parker Clay’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
In most cases, no, and we wouldn’t normally include a real leather option but Parker Clay does all they can to mitigate its harm by first sourcing their leather from local Ethiopian farmers “who treat their animals with care and respect” and are raised for food (so the hide is just a would-be-wasted byproduct of Africa’s largest cattle industry).
Part of the Green Tannin Initiative, Parker Clay uses traditional Chrome and sulfide-free tanning practices. While not all their tanning is natural yet, they’re using a majority of organic vegetable-based dyes.
Supply chain & labor practices:
In the words of Parker Clay artisan Zewditu, “Buying a bag can change someone’s entire life.”
Designed in California and ethically made in their own factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this brand provides pensions, health care, paid time off, transportation to and from work, laundry services, and even daily team coffee breaks.
They even started the Parker Clay Center of Excellence for skill training, which graduated employees as experts in artisan practices certified by the Ethiopian Leather Industries Development Institute (LIDI) to give employees job prospects beyond Parker Clay.
They pay fair trade wages to leather farmers and their salaried artisans are paid over twice that of typical local jobs, with regular adjustments based on their “Basket of Goods” cost of living assessments. All labor contracts are based on the USD to protect from currency devaluation.
Parker Clay empowers women with professional skills and dignified work. With the help of their sister non-profit Ellilta-Women At Risk, they employ most local women who have been impacted by the sex trade, 46% of whom have never had sustainable employment.
“Our products are hand-made by exceptionally skilled artisans, not by machine. […] Each of our bags represents the skills of a gifted crafter whose hard work is a statement of human artistry and dignity, a statement that people can lift themselves out of poverty.”
Green business practices:
These bags are designed for long-term durability… apparently multigenerational durability! They “want your Parker Clay bag to be passed down in your family. Fashion should not be disposable but treasured.” Here’s CEO Ian Bentley’s TEDx Talk on conscious consumerism.
They also hold their tanneries to high environmental standards and require them to recycle all the water used in the tanning process.
Community & charitable giving:
Upon joining the Green Legacy Challenge to plant 5 billion trees in Ethiopia, Parker Clay committed to planting 5,000 of those.