Friday, June 4, 2010

Matt & Nat - Eco Friendly+Social Responsibility+Fashion = Balance

As I strolled the streets of New York, a patent brown bag screamed at me from the display window of a store. As I walked closer I noticed the logo was quite different, a picture of a boy and a girl. The style of the bag was unique, the texture was gorgeous, and the workmanship was flawless: The brand was Matt & Nat. Upon further investigation, I came to realize that the bag was not only gorgeous, but vegan as well! I began to wonder whom or who was the creator behind such beautiful, compassionate things and found Inder Bedi.

Inder Bedi, is the hip founder of Matt & Nat, a vegan company making amazing items for men and women. Inder, a South Asian born to Punjabi parents in England, founded the brand in Montreal upon completing his bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Concordia University. Matt & Nat was born out of a business plan that Inder contrived for a class project, but has now expanded offering a footwear line and several accessories. It can be found across Canada and the US, and has recently broken into the European market.

Inder explains why a vegan line, "I met a Greek Hare Krishna priest when I was eighteen, and he asked me to go vegetarian for 30 days. Once I did this, I started to enjoy it, and there was no looking back. Since then, I have tried to educate myself by researching vegetarianism, and am now a vegan".

Matt & Nat proves once again, that living a veg life does not mean sacrificing. By building ethics into every aspect of a business,success enables him to give back. Success to Inder is a journey and not a definition. He has realized that it transcends his ego. "In my lifetime, I feel that there is so much for me to do for myself, the business, and for the world in general. Humility is very important, that’s how I have been raised. One stops growing as a person when they are no longer humble". Inder states that it is very rewarding on a personal level, but difficult sometimes in fashion circles in the past when you have to explain how the quality of synthetics are comparable to leather, etc. Buyers, however are more open minded these days as veganism is starting to be recognized as a "green movement" and many retailers are seeking eco-responsible products.

At the moment Matt & Nat is into manufacturing bags, shoes, and other accessories. Accessories such as diaper bags, belts, wallets, laptop cases and backpacks. Inder wants this to become a lifestyle brand, as he wants to push the envelope and create clothing and other items. In addition, he is branching out to vegan shoes, with his sister company Samsara. Along with Matt & Nat, with Samsara, one dollar for every item sold goes to the charity of your choice.

With Matt & Nat's 21 Bottle initiative, they have further stepped up their commitment to socail responsibility and the environment. All of the linings of bags are made from recycled plastic water bottles. Each bag will contain a message inside to let the buyer know exactly how many bottles were recycled to produce their accessory. What a concept!  Love it.

 Inder feels that in order to be successful, "one has to have a strong vision of what they want to achieve in order to pursue it" He emphasizes that you must try to be different and don't let things scare you. He continues, "You have to stick by your goals and dreams, no matter what comes your way. This is the only way you can make things happen".

Not only is Inder successful financially, he also gives back. Aside from the charitable donations when clients purchase product from Matt & Nat, Inder also gives back by feeding indigent people vegetarian meals. “We (Matt & Nat) give back to many different types of charities all over North America and Europe, from animal-rights to battered women’s shelters to feeding 400 homeless people a vegetarian meal twice a year in Montreal.

Choose to make a difference, you have a great excuse to buy a new bag or accessory! 
To find out more about Matt & Nat products,
please visit 

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