*KANCHA graciously sent me items from their line to field test for this post. All opinions are my own! All photos in this post are by Lydia Toll
Today's post goes out to my freelancing, coffee-shop-office, world-traveling, ethically-minded friends! I'm going to introduce you to KANCHA: a Berlin-based design label that creates beautifully crafted tech accessories for the "urban nomad". Everything that KANCHA sells is simple and super durable- the kind of items you only need to buy once as they'll last a lifetime and just become more beautiful with age.
Not only are KANCHA's tech accessories (including laptop, tablet, and e-reader sleeves as well as camera straps and wallets) beautifully made, they're ethically made. All products are made in Kyrgyzstan with sustainable and locally-sourced materials. KANCHA advocates for decent wages and good working conditions, ensuring a fair and safe working environment for all. KANCHA cares about the planet, too- my KANCHA items came to me with ZERO plastic packaging or components (such a rarity, even for ethical companies!) and the leather that KANCHA uses is a by-product of the meat industry and is dyed without chrome 6. KANCHA is currently taking steps to set up their own eco-tannery, as well, to have more control over ever aspect of the process. You can view a map with a step-by-step layout of KANCHA's supply chain on their website, or learn more about the company's story and values.
KANCHA kindly asked if I'd like to field test a few items for this post, and I chose a laptop sleeve and a leather camera strap. The first thing that I noticed with the laptop sleeve is that there's no chance of a sloppy fit- you'll be asked to choose your exact laptop size and model before checkout to ensure that it fits like a glove! I love that there's no zipper to mess with or to scrape against other items in my backpack- KANCHA's designs feature an envelope sort of flap that easily allows you to slide your device inside and holds it securely without the use of magnets or buttons or zippers or snaps. The soft, wool fabric is beautifully embroidered and after a week of use it's sort of molded to the shape of my laptop for an even more customized fit.
The camera strap is simple and sturdy. The thin leather strap is surprisingly comfortable and it's strong enough to securely hold my heavy camera. the straps are adjustable and you'll receive a few extra little leather and metal components that will allow you to attach the strap to your camera in several different ways.
Since I run a digitally-based business, I'm a bit picky about my tech stuff. I use my computer and camera for work every single day and if I'm going to buy in to a tech accessory brand it has to be a brand that I really feel good about + the items need to be durable (and let's face it, nice to look at, too!). I've been really, really impressed with KANCHA every step of the way!
I can't end this post without sharing another impressive endeavor that Kancha is undertaking- they're currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of an ethically made modular backpack! Watch their witty little intro video below:
The Grid is a rucksack that consists of one main compartment with a system of detachable modular pockets on the face of the bag. The pockets come in various sizes to allow users to customize their backpack daily, and also serve as individual pouches that can be used as a wallet or belt-bag. Staying true to KANCHA's design, The Grid will be handmade by Kyrgyz craftspeople in a sustainable production process with real leather and canvas made from organic cotton. The design label is also a strong advocate for decent wages and good working conditions, and money raised from the crowdfunding will go into ensuring that top quality products are made in fair and safe environments.
If you want to be one of the first to snap up one of the new backpacks, head over to learn more on the official Kickstarter page!