Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dutzi Design Inc: Handmade Bags and Totes That Give Back

While out shopping last week amidst my current existential crisis *remember I mentioned that here* I visited a friend's shop in Laguna Beach.  As I expressed my dire condition (drama queen anyone?) she had this bright look in her eye and I knew she was about to haul something out of her magical little back room in yet another attempt to seize my wallet.


When she opened the box and began pulling out samples I immediately picked up the faint smell of burlap.  The scent was very familiar to me because I grew up on a farm on the Canadian Prairies and was tasked with helping my parents dig potatoes out of the garden in the fall - transferring them to none other than, you guessed it, burlap sacks.  The smell of those bags took me back in an instant - it was wonderful!  The designs were pretty special, too.

Ariane Dutzi is the Founder and Designer of Dutzi Design Inc. - a handbag workshop in the Yucatan that was created in 2009 to empower women to meet, work together and learn the basic rules of entrepreneurship.  Dutzi is a former fashion editor who worked for the likes of Elle, Vanity Fair, Glamour and Mademoiselle while living in Paris and New York before moving to the Yucatan.  I had the opportunity to speak with her at length today and she is truly a fantastically warm and inspiring woman who is committed to empowering the Mayan people.  

~Burlap Tote~

Ariane didn't just want to create another handbag, belt, or other accessory...she wanted to be able to make a difference in the lives of the people of the Yucatan.  Family is very important to the Mayan people so her business model allows women, and now men as well, to come to the workshop for training, pick up the materials, and deliver the finished, handcrafted bags. 

~Burlap Tote~

The craftswomen and men are paid for each bag they make, which gives them the freedom to work from home while caring for their families. Not only does this provide them the flexibility to manage their lives, but with Ariane's training and oversight they learn the value of consistent quality and on-time delivery.

~Burlap Tote~

I have to say I absolutely love the idea behind Dutzi Design.  Let's face it - there is no assembly line involved here.  When you buy a bag you know that it was handcrafted by one person from start to finish.  One set of hands made that bag and it is a unique item.  

~Raffia Tote~

Not only that, but the individual who made it is a mini-entrepreneur.  They are paid per bag and make a personal investment in each piece they construct which, in turn, results in a sense of ownership and pride in each piece that is produced. I love that these craftspeople are given the opportunity to keep family their focus while learning a trade, developing business acumen, and managing their personal lives.

~Burlap Clutch~

I don't know about you, but this type of item really speaks to me.  I like knowing that I'm helping someone who otherwise might not have a lot of choices.  Knowing that I'm investing in another person's life and helping to strengthen a community gives me a sense of pride as a consumer but, more importantly, a sense of brotherhood/sisterhood as a member of the human race *which I realize may sound cheesy, but is genuinely how I feel*.  Remember when I jumped off my wallet for the Lemlem Tunic?  It seemed like a chunk of change at the time, but I feel so good inside when I wear that cover up.  Like I'm playing my part, too.

The Dutzi Design e-Commerce site will be up and running in September.  In the meantime, Ariane has sent me an item list with basic pricing to go over with you.  If you are interested in learning more and/or purchasing, please send a quick email to carrieonnn@gmail.com.  

I would love to get your thoughts on this one ladies.  There really is nothing more gratifying than helping someone out...and getting a handbag or tote in the process is more than a fair trade!

64 comments:

Diana Mieczan said...

That is so true...If you can help out and in the same time get a cute bag then you should go for it:)

Really love those Burlap totes....Perfect for everyday running around the city:)...I know the smell too..childhood memory:)

Happy Tuesday,sweetie

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

Never heard of this Lady before - thanks for the introduction. I shall do a bit of research on her designs. The first bags are very appealing.
Usually my bags are all antique and vintage pieces. I rarey purchase new bags. I tend to buy art instead. LOL.

Laura said...

wow! these are so awesome :) They're so vintage-yet stylish and comfy at the same time!!! :) So glad you introduced us to these!! So... how many are you going to get? haha

Katie said...

What a great company!

this free bird said...

ummmmmm...maybe i'll get a clutch and a bright tote! perfect for the beach!! hehe

xoxo,
carrie

Poppies and Sunshine said...

This is such a great idea!! How wonderful these are made at people's homes so they can still take care of their families. Thanks for sharing! I love the clutch.

Signe said...

Great idea, and I just love the tote with the red letters <3

Miss Rouge said...

I love de Burlap clutch! and my opinio is tehe same that Poppies, Signe, it's a great idea!!

kissesssss

P.D: i like very much your blog. You'll can see me again comment your post!

Zabrinah said...

Fashion should give back. I love it! This was a really nice post.

Best wishes from one blogger to another,

~Zabrinah

AGNES STYLE said...

What a nice blog! Ps I'm following it now! /www.agnesstyle.blogspot.com

Krystal said...

nice feature!! i love them! i love unique things like that (esp your swiss bank bag!) that have a story. that tote with the writing on it kind of has my heart!

Leia said...

What a wonderful business concept! There are many similar initiatives that I've worked with in South Asia - they teach women skills such as embroidery or working with jute (which is the same as burlap, I think) and sell the resulting products! It really does make you feel good as a consumer.

Also, you grew up on a farm?! How cool is that...!

Leia

LyddieGal said...

What an amazing business model!
I sincerely hope we are able to fill our world with more entrepreneurs like her.

The bags are beautiful, and I'm sure the feeling of carting one is even more so.

Jordan Streetman (Southern Hospitality) said...

Burlap is so itchy to me, but I am drooling over that clutch!

Jess said...

I am loving that burlap clutch! How many did/or ARE you buying? hahaha

Annnnd your potatoes of which you speak of on my comments made my mouth water and crave .....a SWEET potato? hmmmm haha

Jamie said...

First off, the business model is really amazing and smart! but this stuff is actually cute! I would totally use these bags for sure. And I agree, when your money goes to helping people or a better cause that takes the joy of fashion up several notches ;)

http://www.glamlatte.com

Debby said...

Great cause! I love those clutches, they are adorable. xo

Daisy said...

Carrie, these bags are so cute and fun! I can't believe each one of crafted by hand. What a great buisness venture and I applaud you for supporting them.

Closet Fashionista said...

Oh wow! That is soo nice of her to do this for them! Such a great cause!! And the bags are quite cute too! :D
http://aclosetfashionista.blogspot.com/

Cool Gal said...

Very cool. I love the Raffia tote.

Anna Jane said...

i really really love that burlap clutch and love her whole business model, too. i think i may be reaching out to her to learn more...thanks! :)

xx anna jane

sophiasa said...

oh wow!! Those are so cute! Burlap?!? Really!!! Awesome=)

Staley Mc said...

These are really cute and for a great cause makes them even better!

Jessica said...

I love that burlap clutch! Such an amazing concept behind this entire business. I agree with you about not feeling guilty about spending a little extra because you know it's going toward a good cause. To know that these bags are all handmade makes it ten times more special. I'd love to know more about Dutzi! xo

Fiamma said...

The Burlap Clutch is gorgeous truly! I love handmade stuff they have spirit!

XoXo
Fiamma

http://fashion-thrill.blogspot.com/

Taylor said...

I completely AGREE!!! I love the thought of helping others out, and you get an item to show and share for many moons to come!

Just found you blog and LOVE!!!! New follower!

http://curlyinthecity-tek.blogspot.com/

Cafe Fashionista said...

I am totes with you there - giving back while adding a fabulous new piece to your wardrobe is one of the thing's that makes shopping fun! LOVE the concept of these bags!! :)

Kristen said...

I love the clutch, it's just so unique!

And remember helping out, will give you my dear, better karma ♥

It's also just a fantastic idea!

Nikki said...

Amazing!
I really love the the first ones pictured.
Awesome story too.

xx
Nikki

Marie Z. said...

I love the concept behind her business and the bags and clutches are cute!

Laguna Beach? Did you run into Kristin and LC? Sorry, I just had to! But really I bet it's beautiful there!

Kristin said...

Love love love the burlap totes! And such a beautiful soul behind them!

ChinkyGirLMeL said...

I love everything about their line of bags, the concept is wonderful and the bags are just so cute.I'm in love with that burlap clutch and the white Rafia tote.

Valerie said...

Carrie, these are awesome-so unique. I'm loving that clutch. And any opportunity to shop AND give back really brightens my mood too. :)

xo
Valerie

Nicole said...

Wow, these bags are really neat! I can't believe that each one is individually hand-crafted!

Brianna said...

I really enjoy the clutch at the bottom of your post. Very cute.

Café Bellini said...

I love this idea of helping others!

Sarah said...

this is a great idea! and the clutch is just adorable! xx

Bringing Pretty Back said...

Burlap - so dang cool and simple isn't it! LOVE IT!
I want to thank you so very much for your sweet and beautifulo comment on my blog! I'm not going anywhere! ( :
Have a pretty day!
Kristin

Iva said...

I totally love this!! This is so fantastic!

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

I love the smell of burlap too- Not because of a childhood memory- I just like the natural smell of it.

Great bag- I have a little burlap beach bag from JCrew from a few years back- Love that the sand can kinda past through it.

style'n said...

Carrie- I really love this post! I love hearing about businesses like this and these are types of places I like to support and shop at. I love the clutch. it would make such a great gift. (and I might need one for myself) I am going to check out the link you posted and bookmark this.

MT Days & Nights said...

ok those bags are BEYOND cute!! I love the tote with the red font, perfect for the beach!

Ashleigh said...

I love stories like this! The clutch is adorable!

I just sent you and email about M+O (hopefully you got it) - my kindred spirit! I realize now you're in LA, I am *this close* to moving there soon. We DO need to talk!

Connie @ SogniESorrisi said...

Love the clutches!

Taj Acosta said...

This is a great idea, and I love the raffia bag!

Couture Carrie said...

These are wonderful!
Especially loving the clutch!

xoxox,
CC

verseastyle said...

omg thank you for sharing... so uber cool!

ryan said...

great post, I have never heard of her before but I love them!
xoxo ryan

Maria at Bachman's Sparrow said...

Wow, I really love the look of those bags! Rustic-chic. Can't wait till the sites up :)

xoxo Maria

Marcie said...

Super cute!! I really love the rustic look. Did your friend let you have a "photo shoot" in her store?! (lol). I love the drama queen comment. That is something I would say.

xo M

this free bird said...

Marcie you crack me up! I totally went in and took pictures of the samples, and got connected to Ariane. It was awesome. So looking forward to helping her out!!

drama queen - hehehe

Lisa Griffin said...

This is awesome, an even better form of social responsibility in fashion! Plus these don't look like so many 'feel good fashion' pieces, which quite frankly never look good. these are well crafted and reallly cute!
www.indramaticfashion.com

Lisa Lisa Lisa said...

I love the burlap clutch!!! Those are so cool. I love it. =)

alison (semi-fab lane) said...

great idea and cause. and the bags are amazing. i especially love the clutch!

MarchMusings said...

Def a good idea to support the industry. And they are great looking bags too!

Jess said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. This is such a great concept and I'm glad that people are still doing things for the good of others ;)

xo

Jammer said...

Awesome idea! Now my dad can't give me the "you really just bought another purse" look!

Heather {A Measure Of...} said...

I love the idea and the look of this! The clutch is my favorite!

Josie said...

I LOVE that burlap clutch! So cute. And what a fantastic cause; it's absolutely fabulous when fashion and charity come together!
xo Josie
http://winksmilestyle.blogspot.com

AB HOME Interiors said...

What a great idea and cause. i love it when things like this give back!
Xo
Amanda

Aspiring Kennedy said...

I love this idea. I would be all about it if the price point was right... how much are they? The design/cause is great! I love the story about you growing up digging out potatoes... :)

this free bird said...

Aspiring K...will send you an email w/info! xoxo

She Wore It Well said...

You are so kind for spreading the love. Get them to sell on etsy!! x

Flotsam Friends said...

These are wonderful. I love the first bag. I so need one of these for the beach this summer (almost spring here in my part of the world). What an inspiring story too. Thanks!! Pruxxx

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