Swank on the Shoulder

Hunting & Gathering

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY JAN 16, 2019

“This business literally fell into my lap when I became aware of women in San Antonio manufacturing handbags and being grossly underpaid and undervalued,” Gretchen Bauer Founder and CEO of BSWANKY describes. “I immediately flew out and partnered with them, purchased their machinery and together we started making leather handbags.”

The philanthropic-centric and fashion-forward boutique creates its transformational bags with a focus on empowering women and giving back. Proud to design and handcraft in their very own Sarasota Factory, the foundation of BSWANKY happily manufactures its product and employs women who have come from local sweatshops. “We want to improve the way goods are being manufactured,” Bauer says of learning female employees are part of an underutilized and underserved workforce in our country.“ Women have been undervalued in factories across the U.S. and are tasked to work in less than optimal working environments.”

While typical American manufacturing facilities are desperate for highly-skilled employees, the standards and wages do not afford the people with the lifestyle and workspace that they deserve. “Not all workplaces are created equal,” she states. Established a work setting forged in integrity, creative expression and intention, the care and expression of BSWANKY bags are reflected in the quality craftsmanship of each handbag produced. “Our workforce is made up almost entirely of female immigrant artisans who take immense pride in their work.”

Using only the highest quality leathers and components, customers can “B the difference”, simply by purchasing one of its versatile purses that convert into a backpack. Fully-lined and showing off edgy, luxury prints—don The Python, made of textured python skin (ethically-sourced of course, from the Florida Everglades), or The Sundance, made of hair-on cowhide with chestnut leather. Additionally, the Unreal Pink bag, fearlessly shows off its alligator embossed pink leather paired with copper leather straps. The Unreal Pink line is dedicated towards supporting women of breast cancer and helps towards raising awareness through a brand partnership with National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Photo courtesy of BSWANKY, 6321 Porter Rd. Suite #3, Sarasota, 610-291-8527

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