Scrap fabric turns to art and travels the world
Décor brand Das Catarinas Brazil exports to Europe and is intent on growing on the international market. Its products are made with scrap textiles by women in Santa Catarina, Brazil.
São Paulo – Décor items by Das Catarinas Brazil, from Joinville, Santa Catarina, command attention for their colors, their finish, and their story. They’re made from scrap textiles by women who couldn’t join the labor market. This combination of factors has drawn European importers, who ordered product this month at a Paris expo.
Das Catarinas creates decorative items such as cushions, bowls, vases, bean bag chairs, seat cushions and some accessories, including necklaces. The primary raw material is textile industry leftover. Through the hands of entrepreneur Edna Mesadri, who created and owns the business, they morph into myriad art pieces and create jobs for five local women.
It all began in 2011, after Mesadri, who used to help out her husband with his children’s entertainment business, decided to turn her career around. After spending about ten years cataloging and researching handicraft, she got a group of women together to set up her business, a combination of creativity and sustainability. Textile industries in the area, such as Hering, are key partners in supplying the textiles.
From the get-go, Mesadri had her eyes on the international market. That’s why she added Brazil, with a ‘z’, to her brand’s name. In 2012 and 2013, the items were featured in Paris’ Maison & Objet expo, through an initiative of Brazil’s Handicraft Export Association (Abexa), and that led to deals in European countries. This year saw the brand return to the exhibition under a project of the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), and this time Mesadri was there too.
Deals were made in the United Kingdom and in Paris, and Mesadri said she got in touch with 30 potential buyers from Lebanon, Japan, Germany, the UK, the United States, Belgium, etc. The business owner says the product’s colors and good finish are what attracts attention. As an example, she names linen cushions with scrap fabric details. “They realize there’s a story behind them,” says Mesadri.
In Brazil, Das Catarinas sells its products on its website, at spaces provided by the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), and in some outlets in Rio de Janeiro and in the South. But Mesadri wants more from the Brazilian and international markets. She has plans of increasing product range and involving more women in the project. Currently, the work is outsourced to embroiderers, seamstresses, and women tasked with making little rolls of fabric. The items are designed by Edna Mesadri herself and then finished in a workshop.
New additions in the plans include petecas (traditional shuttlecocks) and miniature donkeys. Both are made by local artisans and should be incorporated into the Das Catarinas portfolio soon.
Das Catarinas Brazil
Phone: +55 (47) 3425-9422
*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum