Local Crafters are Making Unique Sustainable Goods

When I was growing up, I had many older relatives that crocheted and knitted various things from dolls to afghans. I never liked getting gifts from them. I can remember one Christmas eve, getting to open 1 present early, and being so disappointed that it was a gift from my great aunt. Inside was a pair of soft pink cknitted booties. Ugh, that’s no fun…I wanted toys and cool clothes…not a dumb pair of booties! I couldn’t wait until Christmas morning when I would get to open the cool stuff!

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe I ever felt that way because I feel so differently now. I love handmade items that have so much time and care put into making them. We have a couple of local markets that many local crafters and artists gather at to sell their goods. It is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning; walking around and looking at the many unique items.

I especially like artists that are able to breathe new life into old items. They may take bottle caps and decorate a picture frame, or license plates to make bird houses, I just love seeing the ingenious ideas of people that not only recycle items but they upcycle them. They take it from something old and drab and make it better than it was. They give it style. The biggest issue I have on Saturday mornings at the market is trying to decide which of the fabulous items to get because unfortunately, I don’t have the unlimited funds I would need to buy all the things I like!

 Along with my love of the sheer aesthetics of the craft items, I also like that I can feel good about purchasing from small business. I get so happy seeing the revival of the urban crafter, and local artists. The best part is that we can have local artists making awesome goods of all kind like before the Industrial Revolution, but we still have the technology of the internet to connect with the local artist that may not be local to us.

One company that’s doing some really cool crafting is Rickshaw Bags in San Francisco. According to an article in Inc. Magazine (one of my favorite magazines to find out about up and coming small business,) Rickshaw has found a way to make bags that have sustainability at their core with zero waste. Talk about upcycling; they have created a bag made from fabric that was once water bottles. The CEO of Rickshaw Bagworks, Mark Dwight explains, “we partnered with one of the few remaining upholstery mills in North Carolina to develop a proprietary collection of Rickshaw Performance Tweed: a gorgeous, rugged fabric made from recycled beverage bottles and finished with an eco-friendly, stain-resistant coating. With a little extra effort, we developed a fabric that met our goals for sustainability, style, durability, and affordability.”

 Rickshaw custom makes every bag to order, so you can really get a bag that’s unique to you. You can customize every part of the bag and since they are open to the public, you could even watch the creation of your bag.

I love seeing this type of manufacturing that really honors the timeless tradition of local crafters. It makes me think again about those knitted Christmas booties...I may not have been happy to open them, but I sure wore them a lot, and for a long time, because not only were they uniquely made, but they were also made with handcrafted quality.

The Commuter 2.1 Laptop Briefcase from Rickshaw Bagworks on Vimeo.

disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.