The plastic-free movement along with other environmental movements is on the rise. Kare Kollective is a brand that helps people who are wanting to change their lifestyle to live in way that is more harmonious with nature. It is for eco conscious consumers who are dissatisfied with cheaply made products and want to support businesses that are environmentally conscious and provide ethical employment for local communities. Their thoughtfully designed bags make it easier for you to transition to plastic-free shopping.
01. When was this business founded and by whom?
➤ Kare Kollective (as it is now known) was founded by Keren Bauman in August 2018 and our official launch was in November of that same year. It took us quite some time to find the right fabric and the right people to produce our bags. We were committed to doing everything locally, including trying to source our fabric from local mills, which wasn’t the easiest process.
We were blown away by the positive response when we launched our bags at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Cape Town. We had to do quite a bit marketing as to what the bags could be used for and the benefits of doing so. Being a city surrounded by nature people really resonated with the idea and quickly caught on. We’re so grateful for their support.
02. Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
➤ Kare Kollective was created out of a love for our planet and in particular the beautiful, natural landscape of South Africa. Being a nature lover I was really startled to notice the increasing amount of rubbish found on our mountains and beaches. My family is a group of extreme hikers and I grew up spending a lot of time hiking, playing in rivers, catching tadpoles, or body surfing on the beaches in Cape Town.
I really wanted to do something I was passionate about. When I noticed how quickly the environmental movement was growing overseas I knew I wanted to be a part of that. The experience I had when I first shopped without using a single piece plastic was exhilarating and it made me feel like as a consumer I had some power. I wanted others to feel this power.
I did a course at UCT which focused on Cape Town’s labour force in the garment industry & the huge amount jobs this created for, mostly woman, back then. This giant industry crumbled under the pressure of cheaper imports and soon almost all these factories closed down. I knew that there were still many talented machinists around for whom producing bags would be a walk in the park.
03. How big is your current team of employees, and what are your thoughts on future expansion?
➤ At the moment our products are manufactured by Rashieda who has home factory and employs 3 women; Jackie, Veronica, and Zelda. They have all been in the industry for many years. We also have a cutter and a pattern maker. The process of sourcing different materials has taken us all around Cape Town and we have met amazing people who we can’t wait to work with in the future.
Simply put, as we grow we want our environmental footprint to shrink. We plan to do so by moving toward increasingly more sustainable ways of doing business. Especially after the corona pandemic our dream is growing our local economy by providing jobs.
04. How do you advertise your products/use social media?
➤ We have an online store karebags.co.za. Some of the best local boutique stores stock kare bags. We’re looking for similar stores overseas (message us if have a recommendation). We mostly engage with our kommunity over Instagram and are constantly looking for ways to konnect and grow our kare kommunity.
05. Why will people buy your product (and not something else)?
➤ Most importantly we are committed to ensuring that your plastic-free journey is made easier with kare bags in hand. Our future plans are to include other plastic-free alternatives. What makes us different is that we personalize our products. We don’t just tag our label on products instead we take time in sourcing and adapting products to suit the needs of our customers.
The true cost of fast fashion is becoming a concern for many consumers. By producing our products in an ethical manner and supporting local pattern makers, cutters and machinists we facilitate a chain of local development. We are committed to growing our economy and dedicated to facilitating growth in our community.
Something else that we love doing is kollaborating with our followers. We want to promote individuals in our kommunity who are talented and deserve exposure. We welcome kollaborations with graphic designers or small businesses so that we can grow together.
06. What do you love most about doing business in Africa?
➤ In the process of creating Kare Bags we meet so many different people that we otherwise would not come into contact with. South Africa has one of the most diverse populations and it’s a blessing to be introduced to so many talented individuals from such diverse backgrounds. I love the spirit of South Africans – we’re a positive bunch and extremely encouraging to young entrepreneurs.
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