As a business committed to making the world a more sustainable place, it has always been our aim to partner with other organizations to extend the reach of what we can do. We are finally taking action in a direction which has long been on our minds: we're committing to donate a part of our profits to a charity that shares our mission and values! That charity is the London-based EcoACTIVE!
Even though I haven't quite made it to the beach just yet this year, our new trio of bags with beautiful stripes have me craving all things seaside :)
I'm blaming the colours and textures, for I can't stop day-dreaming about packing them with beach towels, fresh fruits to keep me going during the day and snacks to enjoy as the sun goes down... *rummages the closet looking for espadrilles*
In grey, red and a beautiful sandy beige, these bags are made from cotton fabrics that would have been thrown away. As with all of our bags, they have the same handy pocket on the inside and have been finished with cotton seam tape, but we skipped on our iconic Bag For Change print to keep these models as simple and elegant as possible. We took these photos in London, but can't wait to see where you guys and girls taken them to!
Which one is your favourite?
Enable subtitles for a written translation in English!
Still amazed at this, and incredibly happy to be sharing the Be For Change message with a growing audience! A huge Thank You to everyone who has been supporting me on this journey :D
Have you wondered how strong can a cloth bag be? We’ve taken it to the next level - in this video Active Vegans test our Bag For Change with 60 kilos in weight plates!
This morning, Londoners woke up to find the city covered in a fresh sprinkling of snow! Every now and then it snows in London, but I've only seen it with this much snow 5 years ago and therefore proceeded to turn into a small child. I left the house even before breakfast to have a walk around the empty streets, and as it became apparent that it wasn't melting away anytime soon I whatsapped one of my flatmates to please, please, please model the new bag models for me... outside... Thankfully she was up for it and I proceeded to start the day in one of my favourite ways: camera in hand!
The rest of the day has mainly been spent on my laptop editing text and photos, but it made me realize how much I missed starting the day doing something creative! Not emails, or text editing, or sorting through the mess of papers I left all over the desk the day before... But something that actually gets me excited and which I find meaningful. Sometimes it can be tricky to balance the 'business' and 'creative' aspects of what I do at BFC, but today will definitely be on my mind as a good example of what to do.
What gets you excited to kick start the day in the morning?
I've always found it helpful, fun even, to use certain calendar milestones to look at my life, ask myself questions and renew my intentions before committing to a number of things that make my day-to-day life. You may call it goal-setting. I do it around three time a year: around my birthday in April; mid-September when a new school year used to start; and, you've guessed it, around New Year's Eve. Most years, my New Year's goal-setting is only completed in January - and this year is no exception. I find it hard to take the necessary time in between Christmas and the 31st of December, and to be completely honest and raw with myself as I look at my progress and question my direction I do need a large window of time spent by myself and without interruptions.
There's been a lot of talk this year around the usefulness of New Year's resolutions. To be honest, I find that resolutions are helpful any time of the year, but I always enjoy doing it around 'the start of the year' simply because there's something nice about reading, reflecting and writing while it's cold outside and I'm wrapped up in a knit with a hot cup of tea nearby. Plus, imagining how life will change once my goals have been implemented helps me fight the winter blues and gives me the soaring motivation I need to get out of bed early in the morning, when it's dark outside and the house is freezing cold.
This year, in addition to my personal goals, I've decided to set some Be For Change goals as well - or rather, I decided to separate the two. Now that this company is properly set-up and running, it feels like the right move. As to why I'm sharing them with you, I'm hoping to get your opinions on these goals: which are most relevant to you? is there anything else you'd like to see on this list? do you have tips on how to make any of these become a reality? Let me know in the comments :)
So, here are the my 2018 goals for Be For Change (in no particular order)
- To really get One Aware magazine off the ground - last year I set myself the goal of creating this magazine, and now that it has been started it's time to fulfill my vision of how One Aware is meant to be. I want to make it as great as I know it can be, as well as make it more widely known and available.
- To become closer to the community that has started gathering around this small company - even at such an early stage, there are some of you who consistently like BFC's posts, take the time to reply to my Stories, and introduce my work to others!!! This has been an incredible thing to witness and I know that I've been really fortunate to have your attention (I never had a social media strategy and I wasn't consistently adding value through any platform). Now I'm determined to get to know you better and add value more consistently - which I'm sure will be a work in progress! So if you have suggestions of topics you'd like to see me approach or themes you'd like One Aware to focus on next, don't be shy and let me know! Let's all grow together!
- To sell all of the Bags For Change currently in stock - there are a few new bags coming out, and once those are out I'm not producing any more unless they sell out. To be honest, despite the amazing reviews everyone gives the bags, they've been a tough sell. So I'm going to give the bags one last push in the next 5 months - and if sales don't pick up and everything gets sold, I'll have to cut my losses and stop stalling money on these bags. This was a tough call for me, and one that I should probably have made last year.
- To launch two new products - this is where I'm getting a bit ambitious... but it's basically the challenge that keeps me going when the going gets tough. I've got a few options in the pipeline, products I've started working on and didn't see through (partially because I determined One Aware to be the priority). I would love it if I could work some magic with the numbers and launch two of these products this year!
- My last, and perhaps most ambitious goal, is to have a small team working with me by the end of the year - The last couple of months I was stretched thin, working on the magazine, marketing the magazine, collaborating with a client on their project and doing some freelance work here and there for some cash in my pocket. I'll be completely honest: I'm not very good with numbers, but hiring two people doesn't look very achievable right now. On the other hand, I know that if I had a couple of other committed people working with me we'd be able to get more done and move faster - which would allow BFC to grow, to work on more client projects each year and with a quicker turnaround, and to deliver more to its growing audience.
That's it! My list of goals, some of them set high up, waiting for the taking... I reckon I can get there with your help :P
Now I'll enjoy the rest of my Sunday, and get back to work tomorrow to make this happen :D Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this!
We worked with photographer Sarah Barrington to create a series of new photos that reflect our brand and show off our reusable Bags for Change
Back in November BE FOR CHANGE hosted a small event. I have since tried to write about it, and failed miserably! Somehow my narration of the night was completely missing the spot. It wasn't until I revisited the photos this week, after the most recent world events (in particular the Women's Rights March and the No Ban, No Wall protests), that the importance of this Friends*Family gathering hit me right in the face: that all these people who have crossed my path at different stages, coming from all corners of the globe, were on that night united to support a cause. BE FOR CHANGE simply wouldn't be the same without their input, their opinions, their diverse points of views.
Surrounded by this loving support group, I felt hopeful and powerful and ready to move forward - not in the way people say when they suggest you 'move on', but forward as in that together it's possible to create real change.
On that night I disclosed to some of these people the next project BFC is embarking on: Honestly Magazine. Honestly Magazine aims to be a safe space where the voices of Millenials and Generation Z can be heard, a platform for original creative work which explores what it means to live intentionally and mindfully in our age. It will be about providing inspiration and exploring what makes life beautiful even when complicated and challenging.
This idea was dear to me to begin with, and it feels increasingly relevant with each passing day. We will be launching a free first edition in June. We are now a small group of people working on making this vision real - if you'd like to support this project you can read more here and drop us a line! Another great way of supporting our work is to share it through social media so it reaches more people who might be interested!
Do leave us your opinions, we really look forward to reading them :)
Photography by Aleksandr Lugin
We have new bag tags!
Now shipping with every order, our tags are 100% natural.
Starting with beautiful veneer scraps donated by a woodworking workshop, which we cut, stamped and hole-punched by hand and in-house (we do love our share of the action!). On the reverse you'll find tidbits of information printed on recycled paper. It's all bound together with jute string. That's it! No glue or any other unnecessary stuff. And we've been taking home any tags we mess up to use as book markers, 'cause they're too pretty to be trashed :D
Have you made a recent purchase and received one? Share your photos/thoughts using #BFCwoodtag
Up-cycling - the creation of value in a product or material without breaking it down
After years in the shadows of recycling, we say it's high time that up-cycling got it's share of the limelight! It has gotten a bad rep after years of association with shabby DIY tutorials but, really, up-cycling can be great!
To start with, it is less energy and resource intensive than recycling - it is actually closer to Reuse than Recycle if you think back to the 3Rs policy. That has been part of the reason why many individuals and companies have stayed away from it: we live in a culture that values what's new above almost all else. But what is new and what is old? For example, is the fabric used in last season's fashion collection old, despite having been produced less than 2 years ago and still having 30 or more years of optimal performance when stored under the right conditions? When putting such perceptions and facts side by side, I often find myself amazed at how the last decades of fast-consumerism made us loose perspective.
Secondly, products with heritage have been gaining traction. We've seen a number of brands show us how their products go through the hands of skilled craftsman and romanticise the notions of savoir faire and slowing down for the things that matter. We fully support this direction, but as you may have noticed, more often than not, products with a story are overpriced and not necessarily sustainable. We want to create products which have heritage and sustainability not only at the core of their manufacture, but also their material sourcing. By using materials which were going to be thrown away, the story of our products starts even before their production.
By sourcing materials from partnering companies, we get only the small amount they no longer have use for. This both reflects itself in high-quality materials at a low price and in a very limited amount of each piece. We actually couldn't make more of a product if we wanted to!, just more of the same model in other materials.