My parents, Inger and Jan, arrived to this village in Bangladesh 40 years ago. It totally changed their life. What they didn´t know back then, was that it would also change mine. When Tulin and I launched Sandlund/Hossain, we had a dream of making the most beautiful, durable and sustainable leather bags in the world. But let´s not get ahead of ourselves. This is Böle Tannery. It was founded by my great grandfather Oskar Sandlund in 1899. The tanning process is exactly the same as it was back then. It involves only two ingredients, spruce bark and water. It takes almost a year to tan a single hide, but the quality and the beautiful results are worth waiting for. Today, modern tanneries are known for utilizing harmful chemicals, consuming large amounts of water and creating bad jobs in the poorer parts of the world. In 1977, my parents left Böle and Sweden and travelled to Bangladesh, to work as volunteers. In their new home, they made many new friends, among them Tulin´s parents, Atiq and Dolly. They all shared the same ambition, to strive for progress and social development, especially amongst the poor. Tulin and I got to know each other through our parents, and eventually became like brothers. Inspired by our parents, we started Sandlund/Hossain with a clear idea. To build a company that takes full responsibility for our people, partners and planet.
Together with Böle Tannery we are now launching our ground-breaking project, aiming to turn a dirty supply chain into a transparent value chain. We call it “The Cow Funder Initiative” and this is how it works. We provide a cow to a family in need. We support them in raising a happy and healthy cow. At the cow´s end life, the family will get an income from the meat. We turn a traceable and well-kept raw hide into leather, based on the traditional and environmental friendly process from Böle. From the leather we will make beautiful and sustainable bags that will last for many years. And at the same time giving back to our community. As an entrepreneur, you live with your dreams and doubts. I once asked Tulin why we do this and do you know what he said? Because it ´s the right thing to do. And if you feel the same, become a cow funder and welcome to the family.