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Make it meaningful.

After months of planning and production, we've finally released our new Hawksbill Turtle collection of handbags, in collaboration with OCEANA Belize. "Our Idea to collaborate on a mini-collection of handbags begun earlier this year in a bridal design consultation meeting I (Rebecca) had with OCEANA Belize's Janelle Chanona. Janelle's passion for the preservation of our oceans and the species on which the health of our oceans depends apon, is un-hideable and overflows so beautifully into every area of her life. In minuites, our conversation had completely switched from Bridal gown lace and measurements, to endangered species, the effect of our every day lives on the environment, manatees, nesting turtles, and gillnets." My interest turned towards the Hawksbill Turtle, their declining population, and the fact that we - as humans - are selfishly causing a large part of their decline. I begun to research. Janelle directed me to videos and articles on the hawksbill turtle, we talked about the concept of using a collection of bags to bring awareness to the threats that this critically endangered species is facing, and the inspiration for the Hawksbill Turtle collection was born.

Hawksbill Turtle Photo Credit - Oceana Belize

We decided on a balanced mini-collection of three pieces : a beach tote, sling bag, and colorful wristlet. Each piece features Our Hawksbill Turtle artwork, our hand-printed "lokahi" interior lining in ocean blue, and a "carry bag" made from recycled confiscated gillnets.

turtle artwork - created from Rebecca's digitized watercolor painting
Carry bag made from recycled gillnets

handmade triangular stamp for our hand-stamped lining

After a few meetings with the OCEANA girls, we went back into the studio, did our sample/prototypes of each bag, and begun production.

Our plans for screen- printing a turtle onto each bag fell through, and we ended up hand-making a plastic stamp of the hawksbill turtle, and using it to uniquely place the turtle onto each of our wristlets and totes. We used the same stamp - clamping it onto our leather bella bags to embed the textured image of the turtle into the leather!

The entire process, from the original inspiration of the pieces, to the production, photographing of the collection, marketing it, and now watching customers fall in love with the pieces -- its been a beautiful, and more importantly, its been meaningful.

The Akua Wristlet

"Its so much more rewarding to be bringing not only beauty into peoples lives, but also bringing awareness to things that matter"

The "Ohana" tote

The Aina sling bag

To shop the collection, learn more about the hawksbill turtle and what YOU can do to help curb their population decrease, head over to

Want to learn more ? Watch Oceana's gillnet documentary

Read this post about a nesting Hawksbill Turtle Read up a bit more about this amazing species and the threats to their survival How about.. Adopting a sea turtle or Donating to OCEANA

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