In 2018 Karin founded Förtrollad, a leather bag and accessories brand with a mission to create timeless + functional pieces that are not only affordable but also made slowly and mindfully representing a sustainable and mindful way of living.
Her goal is to run a sustainable business that in no way impacts the planet negatively. To reach this goal she endeavours to create a carbon neutral production process, i.e. all products are handmade in small batches, eliminating over production which often results in waste and creating collections using recycled materials and scrap pieces in creative ways. Way to honour a circular economy!
When it comes to sourcing leather she prefers to work with recycled leather from local recycling companies, donated by friends/small businesses or leather that she carefully handpicks in thrift shops around the world but she also jumps at the opportunity to acquire a good quality vegetable tanned 100% leather at local family run shops.
Leather is a natural fiber and therefor 100% biodegradable. If a leather bag after a lifetime of use, for some reason end up on a landfill, it will decompose and breakdown fully in contrast to many vegan leathers that contain petroleum products.
At Förtrollad, running a mindful and sustainable production process is top of mind and listed below are a few of the ways they're staying true to their zerowaste ethos:
- All materials are carefully hand selected from local Canadian small family owned businesses. The products are designed and created in their peaceful Toronto studio.
- Scrap pieces and recycled materials are reused responsibly and creatively designed into new products.
- Thrifted + gently used materials ( Leather jackets, cable knit sweaters etc.) are handpicked and designed and crafted into new beautiful pieces.
- If you've placed an order with Förtrollad before, you will have noticed that they often use recycled boxes or packaging materials from their vendors, local businesses or friends in an effort to minimize what goes to landfills.
- All products are packaged up in appropriately sized packaging to minimize shipping volumes.
- Reforestation is vital and can reverse climate change. We believe that we can collectively make a change by planting trees so we plant a tree for every product we sell through our partnership with One tree planted.
Karin's personal journey as a maker:
Growing up in Stockholm, the beautiful capital of Sweden, Karin started her creative journey as a photography student at Kulturama. After graduation she decided to set out on the adventure of her life and headed across the pond to Toronto, Canada in search of her biological mother (which she found).
Always intrigued by the world of fashion and creative arts she enrolled into the fashion management program at George Brown College in Toronto, where she was introduced to sewing, textiles and textures. It was here the spark of one day running her own design company was ignited.
After graduating the program she worked as a visual merchandiser in various fashion houses but when her beautiful son came into the world she decided it was time to find a more consistent corporate 9-5 career and she embarked on a career in broadcast sales. But with her love for textiles and working creatively she soon set out to find balance in her life where she could remain in the corporate world but still find and outlet for her creativity.
"For as long as I can remember, I've had this thing for leather and absolutely love bags, purses and clutches but was always struggling to find reasonably priced + unique styles, so I taught myself how to craft my own leather products and I made a lot of it, so much that friends and family suggested I should start selling my creations."
This is how it all started, in 2014, Karin took a few workshops in leather craft at The Make Den, a local business in Toronto where she was able to improv on her artistry and picked up some valuable new skills in the ancient trade of leather craft. She is the great granddaughter of generations of saddle makers and proud to be following in the footsteps of her ancestors.
"Literally...my great grandfather and his father were both saddle makers which is the term for leather crafters who make saddles and other leather goods. This is what I was meant to do. "
Now she is hoping to spread the joy and love for all things ethically sourced leather goods and to keep creating one of a kind leather products that are timeless and functional and affordable.
The name Förtrollad is a Swedish word that loosely translates into enchanted/spellbound and is a word that Karin connects with the Swedish forests where she spent a lot of her time while growing up.
According to Scandinavian ancient folklore tales the forests (förtrollad skog) are inhabited by marvelous creatures like forest fairies, elves, trolls and other mythical beings and the Norse mythology held tales about fierce gods and goddesses all with their very own unique supernatural powers. All these fantastic magical sagas inspired Karin as a little girl and still to this day Norse mythology and ancient Nordic folklore intrigue her and inspired her to name Company "Förtrollad" after the förtrollade skogar (enchanted forests) in the folklore tales. This word truly motivates her and in her own words symbolize creativity, life, nature, curiosity, imagination and dreams! 🌿
Förtrollad is inspired by trees and forests and therefore very proud to be in partnership with One Tree Planted, an environmental charity that supports reforestation around the world. To date, Förtrollad has planted over 1000 trees worldwide.
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