Button Up Mister!

Fashion experts advise, “that men look better without their jackets flapping around. But it doesn’t mean you have to keep all your buttons fastened. Follow these guidelines: keep single-button suits buttoned, keep only the top button of a two-button suit fastened and for three-button suits, always fasten the middle one and never button the lowest one (the top button is optional).”

Thank you. I’ll remember that on formal nights on board ship. One doesn’t wear a suit in Boquete, at least I never have.

But when you do button up, have you ever thought where some of those buttons, the better ones, come from? Tagua nut buttons are made from the same palm fruit seeds that the Embera carve into beautiful animals and sell to tourists. Tagua, sometimes called “vegetable ivory”, buttons are hard, durable, beautiful and environmentally friendly. The tagua palm flourishes in the rainforests of Central America. The nuts are found in clusters, each cluster with about 20 nuts, and can be harvested without damaging the tree. In the 20’s, before the everything-is-plastic age, twenty percent of buttons were tagua. Others were made of wood, ivory and turtle shell.

Well, Tagua nut button manufacturing is coming to Panama, big time . . . A company called Green Ivory has taken up residence in the new Panama Pacifico, formerly Howard AFB, business park.

Heirs to a rich manufacturing tradition that began during the first decade of last century, Green Ivory is a leading producer of buttons of all styles and colors. The company followed the tradition of the original group of Germans and Italians that settled in Ecuador in the early twentieth century, and since that time, the business has expanded exponentially in experience. Green Ivory acquired the latest Italian technology on the way to becoming the largest supplier of Corozo Buttons in the trans-national button industry.

In order to strengthen its regional presence and expand into new markets, GREEN IVORY will establish new offices in Panama Pacifico, where they plan to complement their button-making enterprise with production of parts for costume jewelry and decorative items for home appliances and the like.

Green Ivory has leased space in the warehouses of the International Business Park (IBP), located on the Boulevard Panama Pacifico.

Panama Pacifico, located on the banks of the Panama Canal and just minutes away from major Pacific ports and the Inter-Oceanic Railway, is home to leading multinational corporations and businesses as well as a number of educational institutions and exclusive housing, recreational and commercial areas.

Panama Pacifico is being developed as part of the public-private partnerships between the Republic of Panama and London & Regional Panama. LRP is the master developer of the project and is transforming this former U.S. military base into the most modern global business hub and master-planned community in Latin America.

According to a La Prensa article, Green Ivory produces buttons for brands like Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie. According to Klaus Calderon, owner of Green Ivory, the company moved from Ecuador to Panama because of the incentives offered in Panama and the ability to purchase raw materials in Panama. The company is investing $6 million in specialized button-making equipment being manufactured in Italy. Additionally they are creating a program to teach farmers and Indigenous people about the what the company needs in terms of raw material supplies.

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