Introducing Vertara: Silicon Valley Sustainable Luxury Brand Launches Against the Grain

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Vertara, the vision of two socially conscious women, has bucked the retail trend by launching its debut collection of sustainable luxury handbags on an interactive 3D platform. The startup empowers women artisans who handcraft custom handbags in Vertara’s breakthrough designs.

Women founders of a Silicon Valley Sustainable Luxury Startup

Vertara co-founders and sisters Namrita Khandelwal and Sweta Khandelwal with their favorite Vertara handbags, the Urban Triad and Asteria Prêt

We infuse every Vertara handbag with choices that have real world social impact, from our socially accountable supply chain to our commitment to ensure power, voice and choice for women.

Vertara, the vision of two socially conscious women in the San Francisco Bay Area, has bucked the retail trend during Covid-19 by launching its debut collection of sustainable luxury handbags on the company's interactive 3D platform. The startup empowers women artisans in developing countries who handcraft the custom handbags in Vertara’s breakthrough designs fusing form and function.

Inspired by the belief that a brand is only as valuable as its convictions - and the certainty that women have the power to uplift other women - Vertara's co-founders Namrita Khandelwal and Sweta Khandelwal have gathered a global team of close to 100 primarily women designers, artisans, technologists and business leaders in their pursuit of an ethical, environmentally-conscious and equitable luxury label that empowers both creators and customers.

The two sisters, who have had successful global careers in business strategy, marketing and law, felt a need for a handbag that, like them, could do-it-all. Merging art, heart and science, Vertara was born as a disruptive “carry your purpose” luxury brand that minimizes waste, maximizes functionality and invests in the women workers whose attention to detail brings luxury leathercraft to life.

Created by women, for women, Vertara enhances the lives of women artisans in India who earn a fair wage in a safe and positive workplace. Vertara’s partner employs grassroots artisans with a stable payroll and benefits, rather than hiring temporary workers which is the norm in the country’s handcraft leather industry. In the spirit of empowerment, Vertara pledges to give 10% of annual profits back to the women communities the company serves.

Vertara is a deeply personal endeavor for principal founder Namrita Khandelwal, who acknowledges that it takes courage to launch a new brand during Covid-19. Growing up in India and then working around the world, Khandelwal observed that women often worked twice as hard as men, for little compensation and even less credit.

“It’s a tough time, but we did not want to wait to make our vision a reality. Vertara stands for fashion that is disruptive, as opposed to fast changing and wasteful,” said Khandelwal. “We infuse every Vertara handbag with choices that have real world social impact, from our socially accountable supply chain to our commitment to ensure power, voice and choice for women.”

Co-founder Sweta Khandelwal echoes the sentiment: “We are neither fashion models nor fashion addicts. We are two sisters on a mission to transform fashion to realize double dividends for our women stakeholders: purposeful style for our customers, fairness for our artisans, and sustainable for our communities.”

The creation of a Vertara handbag is a meticulous process. Every Vertara product is handcrafted using 100% top-grain leather. Hand-assembly steps that include leather cutting, reinforcement, trimming, stitching and finishing are shared among the 20-25 artisans who craft each custom Vertara bag for its discerning customer.

This bespoke creation process can often require up to 100 separate components per bag. Individual pieces are flawlessly synthesized over a period of three to seven days to the exacting requirements of each handbag’s design and company standards. Vertara offers more than 50 leather choices in eye-popping colors and textures on the brand’s tech platform which renders products in 3D. Women can select pre-designed combinations or custom create their own unique handbag.

Vertara’s designs are styled for versatility and purpose. The “Ember Handsfree Trio” converts from clutch to crossbody. The flagship “Urban Triad” is a classic 3-in-1: Carry-all, Laptop Case and Clutch that can be worn independently or together. Triad will keep the busiest woman organized and on point from morning coffee through the boardroom into evening yoga class.

By combining high tech with high touch, Vertara is a one-stop sustainable luxury brand for women who need a one-of-a-kind handbag that holds everyday essentials, as well as beliefs, goals and aspirations.

Alongside Europe’s avant-garde and eco-brands, European sustainable luxury magazine Luxiders has featured Vertara in its Sustainable Shopping Summer Wishlist. Belvis Soler, Luxiders’ founder, noted that Vertara’s sustainable mark fuses luxury and responsible consumption: “We totally love the Vertara label – it really aligns with our ethics and aesthetics.”

From two sisters in Silicon Valley with empowerment on their minds, an idea took root: Vertara. For every woman who wants to carry her day with meaning and purpose, there is a unique Vertara handbag.

About Vertara

Vertara, a sustainable luxury brand with tall aspirations and firm convictions, is majority-owned, operated and managed by women. Vertara’s design and company vision are inspired by global experiences rooted in the fundamental issues of empowerment and sustainability. Our mission is to enable power, voice and choice for women. Every made-to-order Vertara luxury handbag is meticulously handcrafted by women artisans in India; 10% of our annual profits are committed to gender equality initiatives. “Vertara” is derived from the Latin root “Ver” (True) and the Vedic root “Tara” (the Astral Goddess of infinite strength): True Star.

Learn more about Vertara’s story, support our mission or create your custom Vertara handbag on our interactive 3D platform: https://www.vertara.com/

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Mia Brozovich Nacke
Vertara
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