INTERVIEW- WITH CO- FOUNDER CHARLOTTE BINGHAM WALLIS FROM BELO
Like any woman, I have a great obsession with handbags. It’s my guilty pleasure and would quite happily treat myself every few months. It is essential that each style finishes ff my outfit of the day or night. I think Charlotte Bingham Wallis has answered a lot of our prayers. I recently caught up with Charlotte Bingham Wallis the Co-Founder of From Belo Bags the sustainable bag company which was nominated as a finalist for the Independent Handbag Designer Awards 2018. Her bags are ethical, made with love and can be worn many different ways.
Tell us a bit about your background and what drew you to the Fashion world?
I am a trained Physiotherapist – who has always loved fashion and design, now retrained as a Handbag Designer. Maria has run two companies in the Brazilian Fashion Industry for years. We have always loved how you can express your personality and get creative through the clothes that you wear and how the right outfit can really make you feel so good.
Tell us about Belo and how it was born?
We, Maria, Brazil and Char, UK – have known each other since high school, when Maria came to England as an exchange student. Affected by the political crisis, Brazilian economy hit its worst in 2016 and since then, every day there is more unemployment, poverty and people and animals in degrading conditions. When Char travelled and worked as a volunteer physiotherapist in South America in 2015/16, she was shocked by the living conditions and lack of opportunities for people in the poorer areas. She met with Maria who was already running a clothing company in Brazil, which helped cloth the children of the slums in her home city, Belo Horizonte. Meanwhile, on a personal quest to live more ethically, we found ourselves in search of the perfect handbag. We were looking for something that was beautiful, versatile enough to keep up with our busy lives, and most importantly, environmentally friendly and socially responsible. However, we found most brands didn’t fully consider all these needs. We decided to take the matter into our own hands and turn our desire to make peoples lives better into triple threat accessories: beautiful, versatile and conscious, no compromise necessary. We believe in rising by lifting others and this is at the heart of our business ethos. Using our labour, vision and brand to give back opportunities to those in need is what we both always dreamed of. We started small by helping Maria’s community – which is something so close to our heart – not only by employing local artisans and designers but also giving back plates of food. Although a small gesture, it is the fuel to live and thrive. Our aim is as we grow, we can help other communities in Brazil, giving those in need of better opportunities for a better life.
What would you say sets your products apart from any other?
Our products are a triple threat accessory; Socially and Environmentally Responsible and can support us busy women who multitask, by turning from a handbag to a rucksack whenever it is required.
What would you say is your favourite thing about the business?
Our #FeedFriday’s. Helping Dona Nilsa (creator of Casa De Maria – The NGO we support) to achieve her dream of people who are homeless and in need opportunities for food, education, cleanliness and a place to feel safe. I can’t describe how amazing it feels to help such an amazing woman put such a positive impact on people’s lives. So far we have delivered the equivalent of 281 plates of food and it’s addictive – we hope our business grows and we can do more!
What is your happiest moment from the business?
There are so many moments. Our first #FeedFriday is definitely a top happy moment and also seeing people’s positive response to our products and what we are doing is always a moment that makes us feel good.
What do you see for Belo in the future?
Aha, they say Dream BIG! And we definitely are doing just that we hope one day to be a leader of responsibly made, beautiful accessories. We hope to show that fashion can be beautiful and help heal the world.