Tag Archives: recycle

Reclaimed Threads Business Update! October 2009

Back To Work After A Death In The Family

Hello, Hello.

This is my Nanny 1919- 2009

This is my Nanny 1919- 2009

Unfortunately my grandmother, aka Nanny, passed away a couple of weeks ago. All of the chaos that unfolded after, family flying in from everywhere, etc,  has kept me away from the computer. I have, however, been doing some sewing, buying and planning during this time. That being said, I AM BACK! I have all sorts of great new tote bags coming out soon that I am really excited about.

New Equipment and Materials!

My birthday was a few weeks ago and I got the mother of all sewing machines! It’s the new Singer Professional 2010. It is a great machine but with my luck one of the prongs in the power outlet, within the machine, broke off into the power cord?! Figures, so now I am down one machine and up lots of eager customers! Things could be worse though of course.

I have stocked up on all sort of materials over the last few weeks; I blew through my original fabric stock quickly. We have been going through my grandmother’s huge home and  have found a whole bunch a fabric from all over the world! From fabric samples straight out of 1950’s  NYC to silk from Asia. We’ve really found an amazing mix of high quality textiles. I obviously got my knack for nice fabric from my Nanny! I also bought some great vintage fabric off of Etsy.com and was given a whole box full of relatively new fabric that someone decided they weren’t going to be able to use the way they had planned. So I am all stocked up with great fabric and notions!!

Interfacing Dilemma Solved!

quick pic of one of my new bags, made from a fabric sample, cotton interfacing and blue cotton interior

quick pic of one of my new bags, made from a fabric sample, cotton interfacing and blue cotton interior

I have been struggling to find some sort of alternative to synthetic interfacing so commonly used today. I came across some organic cotton interfacing (they only have a limited supply though) and regular 100% cotton interfacing. Both only come in the fusible variety of interfacing and I do not know what is in the glue, but, I figure it is still better than the synthetic interfacing. Using the interfacing is making the quality of my bags increase so much more than I thought it would. Higher quality bags means that they will last you longer so overall this is the most sustainable option for the company and I hope that you all agree! I also came across some cotton and bamboo batting, I’ll play around with that too once I build up some more inventory!

Getting Out There!

The idea that I need to get my products out into boutiques and into markets has been reinforced repetitively over the month that I have been selling my tote bags online. Tote bags are definitely a product that people need to see and touch before they buy from you for the first time. Once people have bought a tote bag from me in person then I am confident that they will feel comfortable buying another from my online shop and recommending Reclaimed Threads Sustainable Bags to their friends.

So now they key lies in getting out into the brick and mortar market place! I am looking forward to this and if anyone has any advice about where to start looking for stores that might want to carry my sustainable tote bags, how to price products for wholesale or how to market yourself then drop me a line! I love hearing from all of you and find that I get some of the best advice this way!

I’m also starting an online picture account so that I can share more pictures of fabrics that I come across, finished products and Reclaimed Threads in action (sewing, buying, at fairs, etc). So I will be sure to reference to that on Twitter as I update it with pictures!

To Wrap Up

I am excited that the company is already evolving and improving! I cannot wait to get all of the new bags finished and up for sale because they are turning out so nicely and I am really proud of them! I love that life has worked out so that I can be a 25 year old with my own company that reflects my  passions for being creative and living sustainably. I am learning so much and enjoying every minute of work. Creating sustainable tote bags for everyone to enjoy is so much fun and watching someone love a bag that you made with your own hands is extremely rewarding! So things are looking bright and I can’t wait to give everyone another update next month!

‘Til then, remember to stop back and catch the Etsy Shopper weekly feature (picking up again next Thursday, October 22, spotlight on Earrings) and other miscellaneous features promoting sustainable living every Tuesday (starting up again next Tuesday, October 20 with “Halloween Goodies”). Thanks for all of your support and spread the word!

Best Wishes,



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Filed under Bags, Business, young entrepreneur

It IS Easy Being Green- Trash to Treasure

There is nothing better, in my mind, than the practice of taking something that someone else discarded and either returning it to its former glory or creating something entirely new from it. In my work, I make a point of doing this by using reclaimed and vintage materials to make bags and there are so many other people out there doing this in their own way, contributing to fine art and charity.  Over the years, I have come across many ideas and programs that surround this idea of turning trash to something that is treasured. I am focusing on people and programs that accomplish this in artistic and charitable ways.

1,001 Ways To Save The Earth*** While through the years I have heard of the following ideas and programs, many more were brought to my attention while I was reading this handy little book called “1,001 Ways To Save The Earth” by Joanna Yarrow and published by Chronicle Books LLC out of San Francisco, CA. AND as I was looking up the publisher, I saw this: “Publishers Note: This book is printed using mineral oil-free vegetable-based inks on paper produced from pulp obtained from sustainably managed forests, and from paper mills that meet environmental standard ISO 14001. It is 100% recyclable.” VERY COOL and inspired me to put this right up front, so anytime you see a ***, it is to let you know when I picked up the tip from this book.

ENJOY!  AND let me know what you think and if you know of any other cool ideas or programs!

Etsy.com_recycle_searchHandmade Goodies: As a seller on Etsy.com and a person who using reclaimed materials to make her products, I a vouge for the fact that their are SO MANY talented people on Etsy.com Making all sorts of amazing handmade items from recycled materials. I just typed in recycle into the search engine on Etsy.com’s main page, have a look! http://www.etsy.com/search_results.php?search_type=handmade&search_query=recycle&order=date_desc&ship_to=

Kid_Made_RobotDonate some recycling or “clean trash” to school as art supplies: I worked in a kindergarten program and this was always a hit! They loved making things on their own or working together to make large items. This is a picture of a robot that they made with a teacher from stereo pieces, old christmas lights and all sorts of things. They designed it and all the teacher did was screw it together. Children are SO CREATIVE! *** I believe something like this was in the book as well.

In_Motion_Magazine*** SOMOHO (Soweto Mountain of Hope): This a hill in Africa that during turmoil in the 80’s became an illegal dumping ground and dangerous place to even pass through. Mandla Mentoor saw it as something else and worked very hard to transform it into the cultural and environmental center. People now feel safe coming here and there is a program for children teaching them all about being environmental stewards. They also have a big focus on artistic endeavors and allow everyone to make art out of the trash there “to free their minds” because they have all been so “bottled up” as Mentoor puts it. So this garbage was just sitting there and inhibiting people from going there because it was dangerous and they have now harnessed it for the common good. What a fantastic program! Here is a nice interview with Mentoor by In Motion Magazine,if you want more information: http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/global/mm1.html

Art_ContestTrash To Treasure Art Contest. FORT WAYNE, IN: I thought this was pretty cool. Fort Wayne Indiana had the great idea of holding a contest in which children and non-profit organizations can compete. People can let their creativity flow and re-use discarded materials. The next contest is to take place April 2010. Here is a link for more info if your organization or community want to do something similar http://www.acwastewatcher.com/events/index.html?ID=events_and_programs1202742977. I was thinking it’d be cool if some of the art was auctioned off after the contest to raise money for some charity or something.

Before_And_AfterBefore and After: Antique Restorations: I LOOOOVE before and after pictures. I am a big fan of refinishing furniture in lieu , its so rewarding. Here is a great gallery of projects from all over the country created Pamela Wiggins:


Old Cell Phones To Charity: If you are like me then you have at least a half dozen old cell phones lying around. Instead of letting mine just sit in our junk drawer or throw them away, I wanted to look into where I could recycle them. You can donate to lots of organisations but here are a few: GRC Recycling (you can earn money this way): http://www.grcrecycling.com/programs/cell-phone-collections/index.cfm; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (if the page doesn’t show up, be aware that they are currently working on their site, so check back or call them!) http://www.ncadv.org/takeaction/DonateaPhone_129.html; CTIA The Wireless Foundation (also combating domestic violence) http://www.donateaphone.com/CalltoProtect/donate.cfm; Cell Phones For Soldiers (turns old cell phones into prepaid calling cards) http://www.donateaphone.com/CalltoProtect/donate.cfm; Charitable Recycling (let’s you create your own fundraiser for a favorite charity) http://www.charitablerecycling.com/CR/home.asp

PENN_StateClean Out Your College Dorm For Good!: PENN State did a fundraiser on May 30, 2009 wheere they collected anything that was no longer wanted, put it in their stadium and had a HUGE SALE! They donated all of the proceeds, $62,680, to their local United Way. I just thought this was a fantastic idea not only because, as a recent college grad, I’m aware of how much stuff you throw away at the end of the year simply because you don’ have enough room in your car to get it home but because it gave all of this “trash” a second chance. Here is their website on their efforts if you want to do something similar:  http://www.trashtotreasure.psu.edu/default.shtml

Book_CrossingFollow your Book Donation: I though this was sort of cool. There are tons of ways to donate book liek donating them to the library, for a church yeard sale, use Got Books (http://www.gotbooks.com/) to donate. What happens to those books though? Where do they travel after that? Book Crossing gives you the opportunity to find out, http://www.bookcrossing.com/. You can register your book and then if people go to the website and type in the code, you can see where the book has been since you donated it or where it was before you got it!

Consignment and Thrift Shops : I love consignment  and Thrift shops because you can get some nice stuff, sometimes with tags still on them! I like discovering a good consignment shop that I can browse through but there are some online too! http://www.consignmentshops.com/webshops.html. I also found a website for locating Thrift shops near you: http://www.thethriftshopper.com/ and you can add Shops of you know of ones that are not listed!

Charity_GuideDonate Your Eye Glasses: http://www.charityguide.org/volunteer/fifteen/eyeglasses-donation.htm This is a great guide to all the places excepting eyeglasses and can point you in the right direction of donating most anything.

This is only a small taste of what is out there and I hope you have enjoyed looking through what I have put together. Again, if you know of any great artists, designers, ideas or programs that you want to share please feel free to add them as a comment!

Reclaimed_ThreadsAbout Reclaimed Threads: Reclaimed Threads is a sustainable bag company launched by Katherine DeSantis. Katherine is  a 20-something entrepreneur combined her love of being creative and sustainably conscious to form the company.  Every bag is handmade by Katherine from reclaimed, vintage and organic/sustainable materials. There are a variety of style bags and all are reasonably priced to make them available to all! Her shop is at: www.reclaimedthreads.etsy.com.


Filed under environment, Esty, Green, recycle, young entrepreneur