The world is going plastic bag free! Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration but wouldn’t that be nice? With UK supermarkets and shops making a bid to reduce the amount of plastic bags in the world we decided to follow suit here at Rickshaw. We recently exhibited at the Destinations Show and wanted to give away something special to our visitors to say thank you for stopping by. Instead of the usual gumpf like branded carrier bags, we made our own. Yes, that’s right – we used our old material and upcycled it into something new – a handmade travel bag. Here’s the story of how…
We wanted to say thank you
With our first ever travel exhibition show coming up, Destinations Show 2016, we were excited to finally be meeting our travellers face to face! And so we wanted to say thank you to those who popped by to say hello, we just weren’t sure how.
Because we’re always on the look out for ways to do things differently, we got our thinking caps on to see how we could say thank you and give away something truly meaningful to our guests – without being wasteful.
The inspiration behind what happened next
There were two events that inspired the idea behind our upcycling antics. Firstly, our lovely local partner from Vietnam visited the Rickshaw UK office with gifts in tow…a cute little travel bag for your smalls – not something I’d ever seen before. What a genius idea!
Some time later I was travelling in Bali and browsing my way through the local clothing stores when I fell in love with one shop that had some very special wares. Yes, I bought a lot that day. And it was all handed to me in a bag made from the off-cuts from their clothing instead of a plastic bag. Another genius idea!
I’ve kept hold of both these items for a few years now, they’ve been used time and again and I love them.
An idea is born…
And so the idea of a handmade and upcycled travel bag was born. Handmade by the Rickshaw team, from our old clothing – and if it had been picked up on our travels then all the better.
I have a friend, Darryl, who specialises in creating unique and upcycled clothing. So I approached Darryl with my idea and tasked her with the challenge of turning our team of regular everyday people*, with almost zero sewing machine experience, into a team of nimble-fingered, creative and crafty upcyclers. No small feat.
*they’re hardly regular and certainly not everyday!
First things first – sourcing the material
All across the company we ransacked our homes, scoured through our cupboards and even called our Mums, on the hunt for old clothing and any other old material suitable to be given a new life. After bag load upon bag load arriving at the office we had enough to crack on. A date was set, sewing machines were begged, borrowed (but not stolen) and soon enough we were ready to get going.
Creating a (non-sweatshop) production line
Determined to make an evening out of it and not have the team feel like a sweatshop production line we put on a small buffet of homemade nibbles, provided some refreshing beverages and switched on the tunes. Before long the office was filled with some good ole fashioned team camaraderie.
We split into teams of material cutters…
(even Haydn, our MD, got involved…)
(and office pooch, Teddy “tidied” away the off cuts)
This bag was made from material donated by our Sales Manager, Jo – a much loved shirt which has travelled the world with her and our Product Manager, Jennifer – a t-shirt she has kept since her uni days.
Four hours later…
We had (nearly) 90 upcycled bags ready to give away…
And a shot with our nimble-fingered upcyclers…
The first guests to receive our gift
The first people to receive our thank you gift were Jenny and Adrian, a lovely pair of Rickshaw Travel regulars – thanks for stopping by to say hello guys, enjoy your trip to Cuba and don’t forget to take your travel bag!