If there's one word I've said more than "simplify" or "slow" on this blog it's "versatile". In almost every ethical brand I spotlight and in every capsule wardrobe round up I post, I try to highlight how important versatility is when it comes to selecting pieces for your wardrobe.
I had been lacking a basic, oversized tote for a long time so when I heard about ENAT and connected with the two beautiful souls behind the brand, I knew it was a piece worth adding to my closet.
Aside from being quite literally the perfect catch-all bag — which is essential for my life as a mom of two toddlers — it has the most beautiful story behind it.
All of ENAT's products are handcrafted in Ethiopia, by entrepreneurs that the founders of ENAT work incredibly closely with. Olivia and Eliza, the life-long best friends behind the brand, started the brand after noticing a definite lack in the ethical fashion industry when it came to staple handbags that were both beautifully made and affordable.
The pair has had a connection with Ethiopia for over 28 years as Eliza's Ethiopian mama, Lemmy, sparked their love for the country and its people when they were very young.
I had the chance to Skype with both Eliza and Olivia and their passion for their brand is contagious. All three of us have a heart for making ethical more accessible for anyone and so ENAT is truly a brand that I'm so, so excited to support.
In an effort to make their products as eco-friendly and safe as possible, all of their future products will be made with vegetable dyed leather. Eliza and Olivia told me this process is a much more eco-friendly alternative to using chrome (the traditional, and cheaper option) to tan leather.
Although Eliza and Olivia design all of their handbags, the actual production — everything from sourcing the leather, to cutting and sewing the handbags — is done by their business partner in Ethiopia, Daniel.
They told me that when Eliza first saw Daniel's designs, she was amazed by his handiwork and the amount of talent and time that went into each piece he created. It's truly a hands-on process, from beginning to end. Olivia even told me she recalled Daniel using a candle, not some elaborate machine, to burn the edges of the leather. (See below for more photos of their production process!)
All of ENAT's products are made in small batches of 100 pieces or less, to ensure less waste and ultimate quality. And it shows. My tote feels so sturdy, yet not stiff, allowing me to fit everything from my laptop, journal, and wallet for work, or my "mom supplies" like diapers, wipes, and of course, snacks. I've also used it as an overnight bag, and the double layer pocket inside is perfect for holding my iPhone and sunglasses.
Here's a small peek into the "behind the scenes" of ENAT and a few more of my favorite products from their line:
And to add to the excitement, ENAT will be launching a new product soon! Their new wallets are made with scraps from the larger totes, to reduce waste, using up as much leather as possible. They'll be launching soon, so stay tuned! And until then, shop their other pieces here!
I know I don't look that excited, but trust me, I am. I can't wait to enjoy my tote for years to come.
*This post was compensated by ENAT. As always, all sponsored posts are authentic and hand selected by me. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Simply Liv & Co. possible!*