The collaboration between Harold's and the factory in Colombia began in 1985. The factory produces for only two customers: an American brand and Harold's - for Harold's the two brands Harold's and dothebag. A large part of the Harold's collection and the series of the dothebag brand are produced in a small factory in South America. This cooperation has existed since 1985, based on legally regulated employment contracts and socially insured jobs - in contrast to the widespread migrant workforce. The guidelines lead to the fact that the majority of the workers have been working in the factory for over 20 years.
A circumstance, which in turn is the prerequisite for qualitatively sustainably produced bags, since the know-how remains in the factory, or can be gradually expanded.
The leathers used come from the immediate region of the production site. This also applies to the cattle, which, as is customary in South America,
always live outdoors. The same applies to the metal parts used and linings with high puncture resistance. If you also take into account the quality of the products produced, this is a circumstance that massively improves the eco-balance of the products, even if the goods are ultimately transported from South America to Europe.
In 2002, the cooperation with dothebag was founded. The bags of this brand are designed by two industrial designers Olaf Schroeder and Sabine Winkler.
In this cooperation extraordinary design and old craftsmanship and technical know-how flow into each other. The bags and products of this brand can be seen on the website www.dothebag.de. By making the sophisticated dothebag design, the manufactory expanded its know-how on how to craft designs into different forms of expression.
South America is known for its pithy and expressive leather. Traditionally, the animal hides are processed as naturally as possible, with the result that the raw material remains recognizable in the products, for example in the form of grain patterns that result from the animal's life cycle. One could summarize this principle with the Colombian term "Hecho a mano" (literally translated: "handmade"), which on the one hand represents the value of manual labor, but inevitably links this to the rule of treating and processing things as naturally as possible. In this sense, South American cattle usually live in extensive areas outdoors all year round, usually far up in the mountains away from civilization - in contrast to the stable animal husbandry common in Europe. They feed on natural grasses, so their skin is more balanced in fiber structure and more expressive in surface, but may also have minor scars or mosquito bites,
thus stores a life history. With regard to the - in the main process vegetable - tanning processes, one does not try to homogenize the leather optically, but to direct it in the respective aesthetic and qualitative direction while preserving its natural appearance - the so-called grain pattern.
This results in an authentic and individual impression, which we also apply to our products. The form language of our bag designs is clearly Central European, but regarding the statement of the material we appreciate the beauty of the natural leather qualities of South America. The combination creates the special feature of each Harold's bag.
We love colors and like to experiment with different processing techniques, but always with respect for the raw material.
Workers have health insurance (EPS), industrial insurance (accident insurance), pension insurance, the Caixa de compensacion (insurance against unemployment, housing benefits, child benefits) and social security. Workers are given employment contracts that are valid for at least one year. The term and the associated wage must be fulfilled in all cases. Early termination on the part of the employer is not possible. The insurance and contractual arrangements provide an environment for stable employment, especially in comparison with the migrant work that is common in the leather goods industry.
Furthermore, our partner works with regulated working hours of 48 hours per week (9.2 hours on weekdays with three breaks, and 4 hours on Saturdays). The workers are entitled to 18 paid vacation days. These are usually taken around Christmas time, so that - together with the other holidays - the company is usually closed for five weeks from mid-December to mid-January (conditions comply with the SA80 standard).
The production facility also complies with extensive safety regulations. The working environment (acoustics, spacing, cleanliness) meets European standards, as does the quality of the machines (such as sewing machines and die cutters), which are mainly from Europe. Salsa music is played during working hours. The working conditions, as well as the aforementioned legal requirements and insurances, are sometimes the prerequisite for high-quality production, which can only come about through many years of experience and training. The workers have a very high level of craftsmanship and technical knowledge, which helps them to advance themselves and the factory, and which is reflected in a clean and sustainable processing.