Four trips to Portugal in as many years and since that first trip, when I discovered the Cork forests of the Alentejo region, and all the way through to the most recent trip, it's been quite a rollercoaster ride. Despite that and all the hard-work, steep learning curve, trial and error, a few major personal dramas thrown in, it has all paid off and we're grateful and over-joyed to report that our first range of beautiful sustainable, ethically produced, quality accessories are coming to market.
After working remotely from Sydney and sending my designer David to Portugal to work on R&D I went on my fourth visit to Portugal in January 2019. I toured our manufacturing facility and saw first-hand what extraordinary workmanship, and utmost care is taken in the assembly of our accessories. I took some photos and I've posted them on the production page.
We have been so fortunate to find a manufacturer who imbibes a culture of excellence and staff who all care about about their work. It’s obvious just how much the staff love what they do. There’s a Zen like feeling in every corner of the facility and there's no doubting why our manufacturer is the employer of choice for the locals.
The owner is very hands on and is constantly working with all his staff to ensure every step of production meets his standard of excellence. He and his production team simply love consulting on every step together of the design and construction of the Novela Collection and have spent many hours with my Portuguese agent and Sydney designer to give advice, ensure specifications where met, and construction techniques were perfect.
Utilising his extensive experience in the high-end fashion house Luis Vuitton, where he worked for many years starting out as a craftsman and moving onto production manager, he moved back to Portugal, started up his own facility and currently manufactures for several high end European brands. We are certain Novela Collection is in the right hands to create our unique pieces.
All our suppliers, are aligned with our sustainability, ethical materials and production philosophy and all of them place a high priority on recycling and re-purposing waste (see more under materials).
In addition, they’re all committed to REACH European standards for use and application of chemicals, adhesives. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Registration,_Evaluation,_Authorisation_and_Restriction_of_Chemicals
My hope is that you will come to love Novela Collection accessories and be as inspired as Ella and I to pursue ethically produced and sustainable fashion pieces. Whilst it cost more to have a product that lasts, that’s been lovingly made by hand and brings together materials and producers that are like minded, if we work together, from the ground source, through to possession and disposal, then the planet and our children will be better off.