Chicago, IL -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/18/2013 -- Palmetti is a biodegradable slipper made in India, from natural Palm Leather. The man behind Palmetti, Tjeerd Veenhoven, has discovered that when the brittle, shedded bark of the Areca Palm Tree is soaked in a natural oil solution, the bark becomes soft, flexible, and surprisingly leather-like.
Tjeerd is from the Netherlands and he runs a product design studio. He came across the Palm Leather by accident and now, he is a full-fledged social entrepreneur.
With the Palmetti, Tjeerd aims to turn waste into value, as the shredded Areca palm tree bark is usually merely used as firewood, is discarded or merely left in the field. Tjeerd aims to use the Palmetti sandals to replace the wasteful while plastic hotel slipper while at the same time empowering local craftspeople in India to become self-reliant entrepreneurs.
The hotel or company logo can easily be burned into the sandal, providing a cheap, environmentally friendly alternative. With the material, Tjeerd has also designed custom handbags, shopping bags, tablet covers, personalized journals and even keychains.
The material is abundant in South India, where the Areca palm tree is native. Tjeerd has come to the area to find out more about the material and to propose the Palmetti sandals to hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and other establishments. He also took the biodegradable sandals to fairs, exhibitions and conferences. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Tjeerd has then decided to set up a small production unit in Gadag, Karnataka in South West India, in collaboration with the local craftspeople.
So far, there are many orders for the Palmetti sandals. In order to keep up with the volume, Tjeerd found the need to put up a second production unit and expand his operations. He believes in “a production culture free of sweatshops, greed and inhumane working conditions.” With the first production unit, Tjeerd has provided training and employment for 30 local craftspeople, mostly women, who receive fair pay and comfortable working conditions. He wants to do the same with the second unit so he will not have to cram more people into one unit, increasing work hours or reducing pay.
With the launch of his indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, he hopes to have the second unit put up to produce more Palmetti sandals and to ensure that the livelihoods of the crafts people are sustained. Tjeerd hopes to raise a total of 30.000€. In return, backers would receive their own Palmettis, a “thank you” postcard from Palmetti’s India production unit, keychains, tablet sleeves, and other items made from the Palm leather. All the backers would also have their names on the wall of the new production unit as a reminder of their support.
To find out more about the campaign, just visit the Palmetti Indiegogo page, or go to the Palmetti official website.
Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven
Tel: +31 (0) 624 794 045