Connecting People and Resources to Make a Difference

Kabang to Deliver Upcycled 5-in-1 Multi-Purpose Bag

Everyone knows the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This week is Spring cleaning at our shop, so it was perfect timing when Grace Myong stopped in for a visit. Grace is the owner of a new and creative social enterprise called Kabang. Now in the first stages of producing a multi-purpose bag, “The Kitsilano”, Grace uses materials which would otherwise end up in the landfill. Through her connections with Melanie Conn at Common Thread Co-op, Grace was inspired to design and produce her bag out of discarded or unused blockout mesh banners. She had a light bulb moment when she realized blockout mesh from the scraps pile would be perfect for her multi-purpose bag, since it wipes clean and is very durable.

Grace Myong
Grace Myong with our blockout mesh banners taken in The Flag Shop production department.

When our President, Susan Braverman first met Grace, she knew it was the perfect opportunity to create a win-win situation. She said, “It’s my honour to supply Grace’s business, which will upcycle all of our discarded blockout mesh. In fact, it’s a simple matter of doing the right thing.” Adding, “I am so grateful that Grace persisted because together we can accomplish so much more.” At The Flag Shop, we treasure the relationships we build with others and we thrive on the sense of community that comes from nurturing these relationships. This connection is about actively supporting local entrepreneurship by women, while at the same time, doing our part to impact the planet in a positive way.

Blockout Mesh Banners

According to Grace, at first, the purpose of the bag was to address a single need. Living in a small condo, Grace needed something to store recyclables while not taking up too much space. When she was not able to find anything suitable for purchase, she decided to make it herself. In the process, she realized it could be designed to be adaptable, to address more than just one need. As someone who loves cycling, and who does most of the household grocery shopping, she designed the bag to be used for shopping, (convertible to a backpack for heavier loads) and a bicycle pannier. With an active lifestyle, including regular trips to the gym and hot yoga, she designed the bag so that it could also be used as a gym/yoga bag. Asked about starting her own business, Grace said, “Starting a business isn’t easy, and having the support of Common Thread Co-op, and a successful female entrepreneur like Susan, has been a great motivating force for me, to keep working hard, as I get my business off the ground.”

With a 15 year history as an environmental engineer, Grace has seen the amount of waste being sent to our landfills every day, and the harmful impact on our environment. She said, “I am constantly encouraged when I hear about people coming up with innovative solutions to address our planet’s pressing environmental concerns.” Adding, “I am particularly inspired hearing stories about people converting waste into useful products.”

Grace Myong

Grace passionately believes the future of waste reduction and recycling rests with our collective ability to find creative ways to repurpose and redefine what we consider “waste” and how to turn it into something new, useful and even beautiful. The common belief shared by all three women: Grace, Susan and Melanie, is that sustainability is everyone’s business and environmental consciousness is a community affair.

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