One local brand is utilizing its offerings to help spread some awareness in the month of October and give back to a cause that still needs attention, even in the wake of COVID-19.
Gayatri Chopra is the Creative Head for Simitri, a local company that specializes in handmade bags and accessories—some of which have even been seen on the red carpet. In the wake of everything that has gone on, Chopra has had to pivot her designs to focus on products that are a little more useful for the times. Instead of focusing on her typical chic clutch designs, Chopra has taken the time to also now design bags that are useful for running errands and even has taken the time to design masks and more accessories—things that can be deemed as more “essential,” and those essential products now serve a different purpose in October.
Throughout the rest of this month, Chopra will be donating 15% of online sales to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, an organization that is close to her heart after her own experience with her mother as a breast cancer survivor.
“With COVID, cancer patients are dealing with a lot of fear. My mom has been cancer-free for ten years, but she still lives with the fear and we don’t talk about it much in our home. We’ve suppressed the conversation, and I think it’s important to talk about it and it’s important to talk about help,” says Chopra. “It’s a topic that has been apart of her live ever since she went through it. So, I know very personally people who are suffering from cancer or who are dealing with it now, or are dealing with it all their lives by being afraid of getting it. That’s why this particular organization offers help for not only people suffering but for people who have been through it—they do quite a bit for that, and I like that.”
LBBC is a national non-profit organization based in Philadelphia whose mission is to connect people with trusted information and a community of support. Living Beyond provides Philadelphians who are suffering from breast cancer and those who live through the process with them an outlet and a way to get in touch and communicate with others in similar circumstances as well as events, blogs and other ways to release stress and find some hope.
Launching this new initiative is important to Chopra, even with the effects of the pandemic looming over her business, which she launched just a few short years ago in 2015.
“It’s been very hard to be honest, “explains Chopra. “It took me almost for a good year to establish and get my foot in the door. Last year was one of our best years, so this year we were targeting for something amazing and finally our brand was getting some recognition—so this year is really tough. We’ve tried various things, we’ve launched things like masks and we’ve launched headbands and we are trying to launch products that people can use. So, the masks and headbands are actually doing really well, and we’ve also launched some game-day accessories since games are actually happening.”
The new game-day accessories launched earlier this season, are $24 and feature a hand-embroidered sequin eagle patch on a silk blend mask. Each one comes with a pocket for a filter insert and they are washable and reusable.
“We thought combining that with this month, we would be able to drive some sales and get some out for the month of October,” continues Chopra. “It’s been hard and it’s been challenging because as a creative person and a business owner you want to be able to create something that’s needed at this time and not something that you do just because you’ve been doing it for the last ten years. We actually wanted to create some value. We’re going to keep creating and changing things based on what people want and I think that’s how it’s going to be going forward.”
Simitri is also going to be re-launching their gift cards this month at 50% off, something they did earlier this year in April to help with the pandemic and to also keep their artisans in India in business.
“They are the actual talents behind the brand. They’ve not been able to come out of their villages and they are suffering the most. So we are doing everything to support them and I’m hoping with this month we are [going to get] enough in sales to support them enough for the months that they haven’t worked for us. We’re hoping to bring all of them back because we are still working on 40% production, so this is a way to see if we can get all of them back and support their lives and families as well,” says Chopra.
For more information on Simitri, visit simitri.shop