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How sustainable is Vel-Oh ?

4 min read

How sustainable is Vel-Oh?

Well, we're pleased people have been asking the above question, we certainly need more slow fashion, less disposable cheap shit we all have loads of. Excuse our language, but we're all guilty of it! So here it goes...

We tick a number of boxes when it comes to sustainability :

  1. Our products are handmade by us, so no need to worry about factory conditions and how much the workers get paid etc. We do not produce big amounts at the time to avoid overstock. 
  2. The materials we use come to us from the UK and Ireland, very little carbon emissions on transportation.
  3. We use British millerain waxed cotton which will last you a very long time if you look after it and rewax it when needed (certain finishes don't require recoating - ask if you're unsure).
  4. British millerain is now a part of BCI - better cotton initiative. The Better Cotton Initiative exists to make the global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future, by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. You can find out more here - 
  5. We use vegetable tanned leather which means the leathers are tanned without the use of harmful chemicals but by using barks, plants, leaves etc. 
  6. We do not use plastic unless it's recycled (ie - a clear plastic bag that the webbing comes in when it's delivered will be used to pack a bag for a wholesale order) unless our wholesaler requests it. All our online orders that go out directly to our lovely customers are wrapped in tissue and posted in paper sacks or green jiffy bags. Packages get cycled to the local post office apart from the occasional lift from a friend if the amount is too great (need a cargo bike..).
  7. We produce close to no waste in our studio. Packaging gets re-used, bits of fabric that are too small to make a bag out of get used to strengthen seams or back the leather straps. Big bits of leather get made into buds and smaller pieces are used to back poppers and other studs. Our polka dot lining cut offs now also have their use - pouches for our leather goods! So you see, we hardly fill a bin in a year in our studio! Most of it its bits of thread, dust and dog fluff, because Zepp spends his days in the studio with us and he's a spaniel.. If you're a dog person, you know how much hair they shed! 
  8. We offer free repairs to prolong the life of our products. 

That's all good, but what happens when we get too busy and the two of us isn't enough manpower you ask?

Will we be going out to production in China etc? Hell no...We have a different plan for that. We'll be buying a few more sewing machines soon and when it gets to it, we will employ people to come and work WITH us, not for us. We'd love to have a mixture of people who already know the trade and who would like to learn from us.

We hope this gives you a better image of what Vel-Oh is, basically it's two humans letting their creativity flow in forms of bags and accessories #inspiredbycycling.

How has Vel-Oh changed us as humans?

If you're not bored of reading this blog post yet we'd like to tell you how Vel-Oh changed us as people and not just as designers. Vel-Oh opened our eyes in many ways, it has made us shop more sensibly, we find ourselves doing the #shopsmall or #shoplocal thing rather than just shopping the high street brands or other easy choices that always surround us. There's something quite magical about purchasing something handmade or from a small business. We also use the services of independent freelance people when we need them like photographers or illustrators etc and we'll gladly let you know who they are!

It made us question our waste, we chose not to have a binman here in our Irish home/studio, so we have to compost & recycle. Therefore we became aware of how much plastic we accumulate very quickly, hence us going plastic free as a brand because we did not want to add to that pile of single-use plastics and every little helps, right?

Vel-Oh made us cycle more, even though we were already using our bikes as transport around the city, Vel-Oh gave us the freedom to use our bikes even more, go further, explore things on two wheels rather than four. We do not own a car and even though it gets quite difficult and challenging in the winter (living in rural Ireland) we are still resisting purchasing one and doing it on two wheels powered by our skinny legs, with the occasional lift of our friends to the airport etc. Having a small business changed our lives quite a bit we think, so thank you for being part of our story!

Much love

Greta & Zulfi Moon