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.
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.
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 & 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.
Shaping up RATHER GREEN
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.
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.