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IE University students create Tumbao, a brand of sustainable products made from nopal

IE University students create Tumbao | IE School of Architecture and Design

The founders have just launched a micro-funding campaign to boost cactus leather accessories business.

Nicholas Saye, Federica Caso, Ecab Amor and María José Heshiki de las Casas have created Tumbao, which makes sustainable purses and wallets from the skin of the Mexican nopal cactus, better known as prickly pear. To promote their brand, they have launched a micro-funding campaign on Kickstarter.

“The goal of Tumbao from the outset has been to create affordable environmentally friendly accessories that encourage consumers to transition toward a more sustainable lifestyle,” the founders explain.

Tumbao Project | IE School of Architecture and Design

Through Tumbao in general, and with the Kickstarter campaign in particular, the four students would like to show that small actions can be very useful when it comes to creating positive and sustainable change. “It is an invitation for people to participate in improving the condition of our planet, while at the same time buying an exquisitely designed product,” they explain.

Nicholas, Federica and María Jose are design students, while Ecab is a student of law and international relations. They met for the first time in 2019 at the IE Fab Lab at IE University campus in Segovia convinced of the possibility of placing their products on the market without having to renounce ethical principles such as animal rights or protecting the planet. From the beginning, they say they were clear about the environmental impact of their project and made every effort to keep the supply chain in the production of their wallets and purses as small and local as possible.

Tumbao Project | IE School of Architecture and Design

After trying several designs and exploring with different materials, they found nopal cactus to be perfect. “We chose cactus skin as a material and it exceeded our expectations, because of its texture and its positive impact on the environment,” they explain. Their suppliers are in Guadalajara (Mexico) and Nicholas, one of their founders, was able to consolidate production details during a study exchange in Mexico City earlier this year.

“The multi-perspective approach of the Bachelor in Design, is organized around the idea of creating a new kind of design practitioner, one that is aware to the sensibilities of their time and place, capable of incorporating the trends and critical thinking required for today challenges,” explains Edgar González, professor of three of the founders and Director of the Bachelor in Design.

“Tumbao is a perfect example of this. It is not only a design-oriented company but it approaches the sustainability and socially responsible attitude from its roots outwards impregnating every aspect of the company and not only the final result”, Edgar González, Director of the Bachelor in Design.

Tumbao’s team of entrepreneurs hope the campaign launched today on Kickstarter will provide the financial boost to get the company into production mode and thus play its part in transforming the dynamics of fashion towards a more sustainable and responsible industry.