The Flag Shop nominated for Best Community Impact at Successful You Awards

Small Business BC's Successful You Awards

With all of The Big Decision hullabaloo, we almost forgot about this!

We are nominated for the Best Community Impact category in Small Business BC’s Successful You Awards which is “a province-wide event that recognizes and celebrates the important contributions BC’s entrepreneurs make to their local communities and global economy.”

You can read our entry and vote here.

Voting is open until November 30th. After that point, the top 10 nominees will move onto the next stage.

You’ve seen our results with Common Thread Co-operative and the beautiful things that can happen with our donated fabrics along with other flags and banners we’ve donated to good causes.

Give us a vote, eh? It would be much appreciated.

(You vote by clicking on the red “Vote for Best Community Impact” button on the left. It took us awhile to figure that out.)

The Flag Shops Chilliwack and London in the news

Our Chilliwack store contributed to the street banners recently put up in a notoriously busy school zone in an effort to get motorists to slow down.

Our London store made the flags at Savour Stratford. See the photos here.

The Terry Fox Run flag – then and now

Since the 32nd annual Terry Fox Run is this Sunday, we thought you might to see a little bit of history. On the left is a Terry Fox Run flag from the original 1980 order, and on the right is the Terry Fox flag currently on display outside our store. We’re still selling them in our Vancouver store as well as online, and we donate $50 from every sale to the Terry Fox foundation.

 Terry Fox Flags - then and now

Custom flag for One Epic Journey’s ride to conquer cancer

We are excited to show off the flag we have donated to the One Epic Journey team who are doing the 2012 Ride to Conquer Cancer that goes from Vancouver to Seattle in June. Team captain Bill deGroot got some of the staff to pose with the flag before it left the building.

One Epic Journey flag

One Epic Journey will be carrying the flag across the start and finish lines of the event as well as flying it at their campsite between legs. They have just passed the $20k mark in fundraising, and their ultimate goal is $25k which I am sure they will reach. We wish them the best of luck on the ride!


Common Thread on Co-op TV

Co-op TV recently put together this Common Thread Co-operative video which does a beautiful job explaining what they do and the difference they make in the lives of the women with whom they work.

Susan has a cameo, and you can see some footage of our production area.

Speaking of Common Thread! Spread the word – we are looking for banner donations on their behalf since they have been so wildly successful that they are beginning to deplete their stash of banners that they recycle into tote bags.

We have already begun reaching out to our customers, but if you or someone you know is in a position to donate, please get in touch with Susan at The Flag Shop at (604) 736 8161 or (800) 663 8681. We will be happy to arrange picking them up.

You can read more about their Banners to Bags program here.


Beyond the Bag Eco-fashion Showcase

Last week, we attended the Beyond the Bag Eco-Fashion Showcase out at SFU’s Surrey campus to see what it looks like when a team of excessively creative high school sewing students take old banners and scrap fabric and turn them into wearable art as part of the Banner Bags program. The results were mind-blowingly good. The participants made everything from a dress with a full bustle to an umbrella cover to a messenger bag. Our gallery on Facebook has photos of some of the clothes on display.

Here is a photo of the banner we made for them:

Banner Bags team

Congratulations to the winners

Scrappy youths

As beautiful as our printed textiles are after they merrily roll off of the printing press, they require a little finishing before they are ready to go. The finishing process along with other sewing projects (like appliquéd flags) generates scrap material which then piles up in our production area. Common Thread Cooperative who shares space in our building already takes a part of the stash, but we always have plenty more. Lately, we’ve been donating extra scraps to the Banner Bags program which puts them to good use.

Banner Bags is a program that educates high school students on environmental friendliness by repurposing old street banners and other donated scrap materials into bags in their sewing classes.

Since 2008, their actions have saved 1,100+ pounds of nylon from landfills, prevented 27,000 pounds of CO2 emissions and conserved enough electricity to power an average Vancouver home for 40 months. You can read more about their program at

Brenda and Rebecca will be attending the Beyond the Bag Eco-Fashion Showcase in March to see what all our recycled scraps have become. Here’s a sneak peek that their project manager Lauren sent us ahead of time.

Banner Bags Umbrella
If you are interested in supporting Banner Bags, contact Lauren Watkins at


Common Thread and The Flag Shop team up to tackle social and environmental ills

If you have been to The Flag Shop Vancouver office on Powell and seen the majestic sweep of our production facility (seriously, it’s glorious; we love it), you know we have quite a bit of room. Rather than putting in a foosball table or a hot tub, we have given some of that space over to the Common Thread Cooperative so that they have a place to set up their sewing equipment which they use for their Banners-to-Bags program among other sewing projects they take on.

The Flag Shop founded the “Banner to Bags” program in the early 1990s, and worked with Coast Mental Health to develop their program Sewing with Heart, where individuals are trained in sewing as a means to re-enter the workforce. In 2009, Susan and Melanie Conn along with Coast Mental Health, Devco, the Women’s Economic Council and EMBERS founded Common Thread which provides job skills to individuals who thrive in a more flexible workplace environment by training them to sew used street banners into reusable bags. We allocate a portion of our production facilities to Common Thread at no charge, and we encourage our customers to have Common Thread “repurpose” their street banners into bags, once their banners are no longer needed.

The United Nations has declared 2012 to be the International Year of Cooperatives. Both The Flag Shop and Common Thread will be participating. Common Thread is offering a 10% discount on tote bag orders if you order 2,000 bags before August 15th. Contact Melanie Conn at 604-736-0935 or find out more on Common Thread’s site at

Susan has recently joined the Co-op’s board of directors where she acts as Secretary-Treasurer. The other two directors are Melanie Conn (President) from Devco Cooperative Training and Development and Jenette MacArthur (Vice-President) from The Kettle Friendship Society. The board provides overall direction to Common Thread as well as many kinds of support in the operation of the business.

The Flag Shop is working on its own exciting project for IYC 2012 so stay tuned to find out more about our participation!

West Vancouver – Always thinking ahead

West Vancouver recently received recognition from the United Nations as a Global Green City – something we do not find at all surprising here. When the Vancouver 2010 Olympic banner program was being finalized, West Vancouver decided opt out of the bulk order that VANOC was place and instead have their Olympic banners printed on Echotex (our 100% recycled banner textile), as part of their committment to sustainability.  Naturally, this enthusiasm for the environment has bled over into other aspects of their municipality and now they have the official recognition to prove it.  On April 8th in New York City, the United Nations awarded West Vancouver a Medal Certificate and recognition as a Global Green City.

So congratulations, West Van! Keep up the good work.

Here are their Olympic street banners printed on Echotex:

West Vancouver Olympic Banner - 1 West Vancouver Olympic Banner - 2 West Vancouver Olympic Banner - 3 West Vancouver Olympic Banner - 4

Read about West Vancouver’s award here.

Kids These Days

Here at The Flag Shop, we take our role in the community seriously. We give back when we can in the best way we know how – with our time, resources, and expertise. So we couldn’t resist when Jennifer Hao phoned up out of the blue to find out about getting a banner printed for the Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network – a community project she had spearheaded on her own after having helped her school win the Canada’s Greenest School contest in 2010. She didn’t know exactly what she was looking for, but fortunately, she got to speak to Susan who was working after hours and decided to donate the banner to the budding civic organizer.

BYSN Banner

Banner for Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network

Printed on Echotex®, the 46″x96″ banner shows off the logo of the organization and will be used at their events including the upcoming Do It Green Burnaby 2011. We wish them the best of luck!