At Merben, their passion is the thrill of discovering and bringing you uniquely crafted, uniquely designed fun, fabulous & colourful finds that make you stop and say "I gotta have that!" That's what they said when they found each one. Merben buys what they love, what they haven't seen elsewhere,
Sri Lanka and its main city of Kerawalapitiya is where Merben discovered their body brushes. There, only sustainable biodegradable raw materials are used and all products are handmade. Timber used for products are timber off cuts. The sealer used on the timber is a toy paint sealer which is non-toxic. About 25 people are employed from their main factory, and only those 18 or older. There is no discrimination in gender, religion, language or cast. Most of the women employed are with children and are allowed flexible working hours. Work is provided for women around the vicinity who work from their homes and are unable to come to the factory (taking care of their sick parents, babies, etc) as well as several subcontractors in rural areas (families with children) who are unable to come to work on the premises.
Jute is extracted from the bark of the Jute plant and is one of nature's strongest vegetable fibers. In India and Bangladesh some 4 million farmers earn their living and support 20 million dependents from jute cultivation, while hundreds of thousands work in the jute manufacturing sector. The jute for Merben brushes is imported from Bangladesh.
Sisal is a natural fiber extracted from the Agrave sisalana plant. It lives for about 7-10 years, growing between 200 to 250 usable leaves with each leaf producing around 1000 fibers. It can be grown throughout the year, even on marginal land and in semi-arid areas, and does not require fertilizers and pesticides making it ideal for poorer areas where agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. The fibers are strong and durable, do not absorb moisture easily and are resistant to damage by salt water. Sisal is imported from Kenya.
Coconut Fiber (Sri Lanka):
Coir or Coco fiber is the fibrous material found between the hard inner shell and the outer coat of a coconut, the bit you don't eat. A mature tree can produce 50 to 100 coconuts per year. The brown coir fiber is harvested from fully ripened coconut and is about 10 to 30 cm long and is relatively water-proof and one of the few natural vegetable fibers with a natural resistance to fungus and mites makes it perfect for use as a kitchen or bathroom brush. The Coconuts are grown by small-scale farmers, who use local mills for fiber extraction which makes it an important source of income.