My Biotiful Bag

I love canvas bags.

Handbags, beach bags, grocery bags, you name it.  And if the bag is made from 100% organic cotton, I go a little bit crazy for it.

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with Ragnhild Greve-Isdahl, one of the founders of the My Biotiful Bag brand–aka my new favorite canvas bag supplier.  My Biotiful Bag (pronounced either beautiful or bio-tiful) is a line of consciously produced, GOTS certified organic cotton canvas bags that come in a bevy of colors and styles.  I first learned of the brand when I attended the MIA Green Conference & Expo last month, at which Isdahl had a booth set up.  It was there that I purchased my own Biotiful Bag, and ever since I have been carrying my green portfolio around practically everywhere.

(I added a little felt & bead leaf to personalize my bag : )

The line was founded in Paris by Isdahl and her business partner and friend, Colette Guigue, in early 2010, and it has already seen immense success both in Europe and the states.  Isdahl told me that the concept for My Biotiful Bag “Started with our desire to create a fashion brand that was sustainable.  A brand with a vocation to give back and raise awareness for the environment [and] the organic cotton industry.” Such statements are becoming more common with the ever-growing Green trend, yet not too often are those statements backed up by someone with a true passion to their commitment.  Isdahl is one of those rare individuals who possess a healthy balance of wit, wisdom, honesty, and unmistakable passion, and when she speaks those qualities radiate from within her.  I think that was the main pull for me towards this brand–the thoroughly refreshing lack of BS.  These two women are out to create well-made, beautiful, versatile bags for people who care about how and where the products they buy are made.  People who care, period.

Which brings me to the question I always, always ask when I look at a new garment or accessory to purchase:  Where was it made? Usually I avoid items that were manufactured in China, and try to buy things made in the USA whenever I can.   My Biotiful Bags are in fact manufactured in China, but when I asked Isdahl about the reasons, she didn’t shy away or try to change the subject.  In fact, she gave me a completely straight-forward answer:  “We made the conscious choice to start producing in China because that is where we have cultivated 25 years [of] experience and key relationships with our two main partners in the industry.  The suppliers are regularly audited and conform to all local labor laws on working conditions and safety, prohibit child labor, allow unions and do not discriminate.  We are committed to the best quality, [and] our Chinese partners can guarantee and surpass our quality controls.”

So there you have it.  A brand with eco-awareness, style, function, and sincerity– a brilliant mix of all the right ingredients.


 

*Last two photos from My Biotiful Bag website*

MiaGreen Conference 2011

A couple weeks ago I attended the MiaGreen Expo & Conference in Miami, and here’s my review of the show…

Nearly 3,000 attendees turned out for the show, visiting some 120 booths in the showroom and 60+ speakers for the conferences.  Truth be told, I can’t give a very thorough review of the entire event because I only walked the showroom, and skipped out on the conferences.  But, I did get to see some cool products, discover new companies, and meet some wonderful people!

Most of the show was geared towards the building industry (engineering, architecture, construction), with a variety of innovative materials on display.  Solar panels, LED lights, water-saving adapters for toilets, recycled flooring, and energy-saving insulation.  Very good stuff, but I was on the lookout for more consumer type products.

The most exciting find for me?  The My Biotiful Bag booth!  It was like discovering a pair of Terra Plana heels in a closet full of work boots (albeit very cool, sustainably produced work boots!) The brand hails from Paris, and offers a full line of versatile day bags and purses in a host of scrumptious colors.  I was lucky enough to have lunch with one of the brand’s founders last week, and I will expound on this fabulous label in a later post!

Two more companies I found that don’t require a contractors license to get excited about: Elu-Zen and Aussan Natural.

Both brands offer all-natural cleaning products, but Elu-Zen impressed me the most.  The formula for their products is made from a blend of 100% nontoxic, biodegradable ingredients, and is safe enough to drink–literally.  Aussan Natural also claims to be 100% natural, botanical, and nontoxic (“Made with Food Grade Ingredients”), but I didn’t get a chance to test any of their products.  I will be on the lookout for them popping up in my local Wholefoods!

I tested Elu-Zen’s hand sanitizer (which is just as effective as Purell, yet without the reeking smell) and was informed that the essential base ingredients in that product are used in all their other products as well–face wash, pet spray, insect repellent, shampoo, laundry detergent, floor cleaner, and industrial-strength hand soap– which made me think that if you can put basically the same product on your face as on your floor, and still get the job done, then it must be worth a try!  But so far I have only sampled the hand sanitizer, so I can’t endorse the effectiveness of their other products.  I may order for myself some of their Sunburn Soother (for those long-exposure beach days coming up) and their Tile & Bath Cleaner (because I’m sick of using nasty Tilex!)  Will post my reviews if said purchases take place in near future   : )

All-in-all, I’d say the Expo was well worth the $25 entrance fee.  Next year I’ll make sure to sit myself down and soak up the conferences as well!