Hello and welcome to Förtrollad. Thanks for being here! My name is Karin and I am the founder of Förtrollad, a leather bag brand with a mission to create high quality, timeless + functional pieces made to withstand wear and tear gracefully and last in your care for decades to come and become a heirloom when passed down to future generations.
Our planet is beautiful but everything we do directly affects the environment around us and all life forms that live in it. I want to leave the world a better place for our children by running a business that strive to create a positive impact on our planet. We hope to reduce our environmental foot print by focusing on making products in a carbon neutral way. We do this by eliminating over production that creates waste which is why all our products are made to order or made in small batches by me, here in my tiny studio in the heart of Toronto.
All leathers have been ethically sourced locally here in Canada. I work exclusively with leather that is a direct by-product of the agriculture industry and not the other way around. Proudly making your products, by using recycled material. Since leather is a natural fiber it is also 100% biodegradable so if it ends up on landfills it will breakdown fully opposed to most vegan leathers that are made with some plastic and will never decompose.
Sustainability is top of mind in every aspect of our philosophy. Here are some of the steps we take in reducing our ecological footprint:
- We source our materials locally from small family owned business. (minimizing our overall carbon footprint)
- We re-use scrap pieces responsibly and find creative ways to create new products using left over bag cuttings and other upcycled materials.
- We thrift materials ( Leather jackets, cable knit sweaters etc.) to create upcycled functional pieces.
- If you've placed an order with us before, you will have noticed that we often use recycled boxes or packaging instead of contributing to landfills.
- We reduce shipping volume by being mindful of packaging sizes.
- For every product sold, we plant a new tree worldwide through our partnership with One tree planted. (reforestation can reverse climate change)
All products are are made with love, light and joy in my peaceful studio and not in a dark sweat shop with underpaid workers.
My personal journey as a maker:
I grew up in Stockholm, the beautiful capital of Sweden, where I after graduating high school, started my creative career studying photography. I decided to set out on the adventure of my life and headed to Toronto, Canada in search of my biological mother. I ended up enrolling into the fashion management program at George Brown College in Toronto, where I became immersed in all things sewing, textiles and textures.
After working a few years as a visual merchandiser in various fashion houses, my beautiful son came into the world and I decided it was time to find a more consistent, family friendly, corporate 9-5 career and started a job in broadcast sales where I am still working. Broadcast sales is a fascinating world but I was missing a creative outlet. I found a balance that worked for me when I started working with leather and now slowly with other materials.
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, I took a few workshops in leather craft at The Make Den, a local business in Toronto. Where I was able to improv my artistry and learned some valuable skills in this ancient trade of leather craft. Happy to follow in my ancestors footsteps. 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.
Now I hope to spread the joy and love for all things ethically sourced leather goods by creating one of a kind, 100% genuine leather, products that will complete your unique style. I make all products in my studio in the heart of Toronto, Canada. I strive to keep my environmental footprint small by sourcing scrap leathers, damaged and upcycled leathers as well as vegetable tanned leathers + durable solid brass hardware and natural textiles that I carefully handpick from local family run small business.
The name Förtrollad is a Swedish word that loosely translates to enchanted/spellbound and is a word that I connect with the Swedish forests where I spent a lot of time growing up. According to Nordic mythology and ancient folklore tales the forests (förtrollad skog) are inhabited by marvelous creatures like forest fairies, elves, trolls and other mythical beings surrounded by fierce gods and goddesses all with their very own unique supernatural powers. This was so magical to me as a little girl and I used to spend hours dreaming up fantastic stories and divine adventures. Norse mythology and ancient Nordic folklore intrigue me to this day. I named my company "förtrollad" because this word symbolize creativity, life, nature, curiosity, imagination and dreams! My motivation 🌿
All products are handmade in our Toronto studio with the intent on creating timeless, functional, sustainable products of high quality. Förtrollad is inspired by the forests and we're determined to preserv nature in the best condition by creating minimal waste. In an effort to reduce our environmental footprint proceeds from every product we sell, plants a tree through our partnership up with one tree planted.
Thanks for taking the time to read about how Förtrollad came to be and thank you for choosing to support a small business . I hope you will be part of our story.
XO! Karin 🌸
Stay true. Stay lovely. Stay curious. Follow my journey & stay in touch with me on Instagram at: @fortrollad.leather