Ankit Agarwal and research scientist Saumya Srivastava didn’t start with vegan leather. In 2018, they launched Kanpur Flower Cycling Private Limited.
The small company, based in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, made incense from leftover temple flowers. One day, they noticed a “dense, fibrous” material growing out of the unused flower fibers.
“And the texture of that resembled that of leather in terms of elasticity and tensile strength and all of that. So that’s how the research started,” Srivastava told Verve Magazine.
The company gathers around 2.7 tonnes of flowers in Kanpur daily. Flowers are sorted by species and the petals—which are used to make the leather—are broken down by hand. The remaining green portion is used for vermicomposting.