Born out of a love for stylish and fashionable accessories and handbags and the care for the environment, Ecolibrio was founded in Charleston, SC in 2007 by Margaret Hansen, the creative head behind the brand. Ecolibrio utilizes upcycled materials, more commonly known as recycled, or discarded computer wires and cables, repurposed and vintage materials into handmade innovative designs of handbags and jewelry. Ecolibrio aesthetic is nostalgic, eco-conscious and daring, with a bit of fun thrown in.
It all started with a small bag of electrical wires and cables. I had been making beaded jewelry for about 10 years then one day my husband encouraged me to experiment withÂ a bag of wires he had been holding onto. On it's own the pile of wires looked...challenging. I had no idea how to work with the material since there were no books or training that I could find on the material. I managed to make my first bracelet which I wore to my retail job and people curiously asked, "What IS that?" I kept experimenting in my spare time, started collecting wires and found that they were being thrown out at my job by what seemed like the truckload. I somehow convinced them to let me keep the wires. At first I wasn't much of a researcher, I learned by doing. I looked for tools to help me create my pieces. I was doing small jewelry shows and slowly started replacing my beaded work with my new collection of jewelry made from the recycled wires. My husband seemed to believe in what I was doing, so much so that he encouraged me to start making the jewelry my career. I had no idea what I was doing, much less how to seriously run a business; all I knew was that I loved creating with the material and my creativity felt unleashed and free. Even through times of uncertainty and fear I kept going. The thought of telling people I quit my craft seemed unfathomable. I made my first handbag, entered in a local competition and came in 2nd place. It felt good to be recognized locally with a piece I was afraid was too bold to be accepted. The years passed and life kept happening while I was questioning what I was getting into. I couldn't believe that this would work out for someone like me, with no formal training and completely self-taught. My husband kept encouraging me, so I kept going. The first week of January 2010 arrived and I got an invite to Charleston Fashion week. I prepared for weeks making more handbags. I was honored to participate in the Style Lounge portion of the event. It was exciting to be a part of an event with people who cared enough to make fashion their career. Then one evening I had dinner with my husband and his colleagues who encouraged me that when it comes to business, "just do it". I entered the Independent Handbag Designer Awards with this as my mantra. Weeks later, I received what I only dreamed of, an email reading that I had made top 5 for Best Green Handbag. I couldn't believe it. Later I found out that it I was competing with designers on an international scale who had art degrees, training, mentors and others that had full-fledged businesses with 200 employees and a full design staff. I remember asking my husband if I should go to New York City for the awards ceremony. Again he was there to encourage me. While in New York, I felt like the new kid on the block considering I was a one-woman operation. I sought advice from anyone who was willing to offer it, learned a lot and came out of the whole experience with more confidence and the realization that I have some special talent worth pursuing. Now there are times when I find myself wondering, is this happening to me? Then I answer my own question with a definite yes. Now get to work!
2006 placed 2nd in the Charleston County Creative Recycled Art Contest Adult category for her first handbag entry entitled, "Strong Woman".
2010 invited to participate in Charleston Fashion Week Style Lounge.
2010 made top 5 in the Best Green Handbag category at the Independent Handbag Designer AwardsTM presented by InStyle magazine & Parsons School of Design for her handbag entry entitled, "Touch of Love".
2010 placed 4th in online voting for fan favorite on Independent Handbag Designer AwardsTM on InStyle.com.