Our Story

Hi! My name is Dante, and I’m the founder of RATHER GREEN. I’d like for you to know who is behind this brand and how it came to be what it is today, so here is our story.

Founder photo

Where I'm from

I’m originally from southern Brazil, and grew up playing with my brother in the rainforest. That was our backyard. Climbing on trees, swimming, kayaking in the bay, rolling downhill with the scars to prove it, the full package. That was the best possible childhood, and it grew in me a deep respect for nature.

This is the house I grew up in.

Wonders of the East

In my late teens I had an opportunity to study in a place on the other side of the world: China. I then left my little piece of paradise to go see what was out there.

Zhengzhou was my first destination in China.

There I learned mandarin and soon after started working as an international sourcing agent, helping Brazilian companies purchase goods made in China. That took me all over China, visiting over 200 factories that made everything from furniture to cranes.

I visited some of the biggest cities in Asia and some of the tiniest tea-growing villages. Everywhere I went I saw with my own eyes how the environment is impacted by human activity. From the infamous air quality of Northern China to polluted waterways and farms sprayed with synthetic pesticides.

Air pollution in China.
I took this photo in Qingdao, Northern China. At 4 in the afternoon. the sun was already covered my the smog.

China taught me a lot and gave me the biggest gift in my life. It was there that I met my wife Brittany. A Canadian teacher adventuring and teaching in Henan province, traveling throughout Southeast Asia and feeding her thirst for culture.

Brittany and Dante
Brittany & Dante

New beginnings in the North

Fast forward a few years, and we moved to Canada to get married. The Asia adventure was over, but here began the adventure of married life, Canadian clean air and maple syrup-flavoured mornings!

A fresh start brings along a fresh perspective of things, and I immediately decided I wanted to do something that could help change what I had seen in Asia. Canada doesn’t have the air pollution Beijing has, and it’s far from being as densely populated as China, but there is one issue in common with both places: plastic pollution. And this became my point of focus.


Since my primary focus was on sustainability, I trusted that sustainability itself would bring tell me what the business should do. So I started studying about it. And the more I learned about sustainability, the more I realized that “green” doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable.

Let me give you an example: let’s say you have a nice reusable grocery bag made from certified organic cotton. That is a great eco-friendly product as it’s made from natural compostable materials that will last for many usage cycles and help you significantly reduce your plastic consumption. But then one day you look at the tag inside it and see Made in Cambodia, India, Vietnam, etc. That would mean that you don’t know who made that bag. And, unfortunately, based on what I’ve seen on my business trips in Asia, it’s likely that that bag was sewn in a place with poor working conditions, or as we hear often referred to as a sweatshop.

The conclusion is that a sustainable product is one that is produced in a way that is respectful not only to the environment, but also to the people who make it. This is what true sustainability is.

Now you may be wondering why, from all products, did I decide on working with bags. To be honest, I’m not too sure either. What I know is that I grew up influenced by textile production.


The region in Brazil where I’m from used to be a hub for textile production up until the early 2000’s, when everything moved to Asia. My grandpa used to have a small boots factory, supplying the Brazilian army. My mom used to have a shop making knit sweaters and scarves. I remember playing around her industrial serger machine when I was a kid.

So I was sure I could figure out textile production if I put my mind to it. The next step would be choosing something that would replace plastic in people’s daily lives, and that’s where bags came in. The key would be to design user-friendly products, and that’s where my experience with design came in handy. Oh, I forgot to mention that I studied product design in university before I went to China.


Humble beginnings.
This was one of our first bags. I took all of our early photos using our guest room.

RATHER GREEN is the result of putting all these little pieces of my life together, guided by a bigger purpose of serving and helping nature. This is exactly how it started.

Four years in

By now, we’ve made thousands of bags for customers in all provinces of Canada and have planted over 4,000 trees through our tree planting initiative. I am extremely grateful to have you as one of our customers and I thank you for your support.

We are very excited for what is to come as we grow the business and develop new products that can help you live more sustainably. Please stay tuned and don’t be shy to reach out if you have any questions or feedback that can help us in our sustainability mission.

Green regards,
Dante Michels


  • Ivanilda Souza said:

    Maravilhada com sua historia de vida, te seguia nas redes mais hoje curiosa pelo que esta atras das fotos e videos descubro que é brasileiro como eu, faço bolsas comecei meio autodidata, depois estudei no Senac e acho fantastico tudo sobre sustentabilidade preciso estudar muito ainda. Vocè esta de parabéns, todo meu respeito e admiração. Sucesso!

    February 11, 2024

  • Regina Utima said:

    Eu o achei por um acaso. Sou professora de bolsas e acessórios no Brasil. Achei fantástico o vídeo de fechamento de bolsa. E quando achei seu site, descobri que é brasileiro. Parabéns pela iniciativa. Trabalhei durante muitos anos em duas importadoras de gravatas da China e de tecidos tbm. E soube um pouco como funcionam as fábricas da China. Mas, nem se compara ao seu conhecimento “um loco”. Sucesso no seu empreendimento.

    January 02, 2024

  • Níne said:

    Hi Dante,
    I discover your products and storie today, and though I don’t need a new bag, I just wanted to leave you a note as I appreciate your work and process.
    I completely relate to your story: I was a fashion designer for 20 years, went many times to china for work, to see exactly what you described. In the end, I was so turned off, It made me switch career, I am now a potter in Montreal (Canada).
    So, congratulations for launching and setting up such a great well thought product. I see you thought of it all: the structure of the bag, the organic cotton, the non-chemical dye, even covering the bottom of the totes that always gets dirty in colourful canvas… And offering adds-on!
    + planting a tree each 50$!
    (And I know, having my own business, each little attention is lots of extra work!)
    So again, I appreciate it all and just wanted to say FANTASTIC WORK ! And thank you for the planet !
    Have a lovely fall,
    Níne Macé

    October 04, 2023

  • Darlene Cass said:

    In Love with your bags and your Story! I live in Canada so am thinking your bags would be an amazing Christmas gift.

    September 07, 2023

  • Maria said:

    Dante your work is amazing keep up with the good work I will recommend your business 100%
    I read your story now make sense why you pick this name Rather Green it has a little of the rainforest in it! God Bless you!

    March 02, 2023

  • Gemma said:

    So nice to learn the story behind the brand and the people running it. My parents were both immigrants to Canada so I really connected with you bringing your life experiences and culture into your work.

    February 20, 2023

  • Leila Carter said:

    What an amazing story. We all know that we have to do something to change the way we live to save our planet, but unfortunately we don’t do it the way it should be. If we all do just little changes in our daily routines, for sure we will make a difference. It makes me sad when I see all the plastic we throw in the garbage, I really wish big companies stop packing food in not reciclable packaging. Thank you so much for what you do. I wish you all the success you deserve.

    February 20, 2023

  • Kristen said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Dante! That sounds like quite an adventure! I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to learn more about who the “we/our” are that you’re taking with you on your mission, I’m sure will learn more in a future article!

    I’d love to see a sustainable Canadian made bag or maybe a series of sustainable products for artists that could be for stylishly carrying/storing art supplies! Maybe one that transforms into something like a small pochade box? I love the idea of being an incognito artist when going out to do plein air practise work.

    Thank you for your work!


    February 20, 2023

  • Mary Venditti said:

    Thank you for this. I love your story and the importance you put on your footprint on humanity and the earth.

    February 20, 2023

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