Because of the strange, challenging, and rapidly changing times, our Flapper Press Green Marketplace is adding new "green products" to our Shop, and we are excited about sharing new products and supporting small businesses with a mission for sustainable living and green alternatives to household and personal products that you use every day.
When we started researching the many reusable shopping bags in the marketplace, we were looking for something a little special, and it didn't take us long to decide on these lovely Butterfly-Bags created by Luke and Devon from Butterfly-Bags Oregon!
I recently interviewed Luke to ask him about his bags and his company's mission to create a "greener" world.
EG: Luke, we’re thrilled to have your gorgeous bags in our Green Marketplace. When I reached out to you about letting us feature your work, you told me a little bit about your story, but do you mind sharing some of that with our readers? Why have you decided to create these bags?
LB: Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for letting us tell our story! Devon and I are originally from North Carolina, where for 20 years I worked in the film production industry. In 2013, we sold all our possessions and moved to Costa Rica with our kids. For 5 years, we ran an eco-lodge in the jungle near Dominical, CR, gaining a much closer sense of the natural world and sharing that experience with families from all parts of the globe. At the same time, we had a fairly strong “disconnect” from the consumer lifestyle in the U.S., and very valuable lessons in eco-consciousness were learned!
A couple years ago, we returned to the states, and we now live in Oregon. We chose this area because of the mild climate, incredible beauty, and overall progressive stance that aligns with our values. I guess we’re hippies, so we figured if we ever started a new business our product it would be something that would contribute to the "global good." These reusable grocery bags seemed like a perfect fit, and Butterfly-Bags was born.
EG: In these crazy times, I’ve been frustrated, like so many other people, with the fact that plastic bag use has come back with a furious roar along with so many other bad things due to COVID-19. There are ways that we can still reduce our plastic use and be as conscious as possible about sustainable living. What are your thoughts about how we can approach a green lifestyle in such a challenging time?
LB: That’s a great question, and I wish I had a clear-cut answer! Ironically, we launched this business in mid-March—about the most lousy timing ever for grocery bag sales! At the time (and still) we were concerned for our health and safety and had no problem putting our new business "on the shelf" for a few months. We all know what the news has been covering, and it’s a lot to take in on a daily basis! Rarely do I see any coverage regarding environmental issues. Remember the Green New Deal that was such a big headline not that long ago?
Yes, we all still have to continue doing our very best to live a green lifestyle, no matter what’s going on in this whirlwind moment in time. And that’s a challenge. We have to remember that the environmental future of this planet is still the biggest news event, despite whatever happened today.
EG: Tell me all about your bags!
LB: Yes, of course. We had some strict criteria when searching for this bag:
1. Not too big and stands up on it’s own. A large, floppy bag at the grocery store is messy and frustrating. We wanted something that we could whip out, line up, and fill, and then be on our way!
2. Natural Cotton and Jute. It’s a great look, and it’s 100% cotton. The bag has a wax lining inside in case of spills, but you could throw this bag in your compost and eventually it would totally break down.
3. Multi-use. They make great gift bags, for one thing. We use them for day trips to the beach. They are great to have on hand for a last-minute gift—maybe even as a gentle nudge for someone to be more eco-aware!
4. Good all around. These bags come from India in a factory certified to pay a living wage and provide safe work conditions. We are committed to making our products carbon neutral, so a portion of all proceeds proudly supports our good friends at Association Community Carbon Trees, a non-profit based in Costa Rica planting diverse trees in deforested land in rural communities. Our wholesale distributor (who only deals in eco-friendly products) also participates in a similar program, planting trees for every order we place. Then, of course, the buyer uses less plastic bags. Good all around.
EG: How did you decide on the beautiful design of the bag?
LB: Yeah, isn’t it cool? Something about this piece of art reminded us of Costa Rica and that connection to nature. We love any artwork that features a tree! We spent a lot of time studying what bags people would bring to the grocery store. Their bags were so boring! We kept wondering, where’s the art? Why not have a little serenity while blowing your paycheck at the grocery store!
EG: What are your plans for your company? Are there more bag designs in your future?
LB: Yes, we’re just getting started! We’re going to introduce some new artwork on the same bags so that we can create a series. We have a larger bag with a shoulder strap that we’ve been testing, and we really like it. We’re also working on a messenger bag that we plan to launch later in the year. And the search continues for eco-friendly products that we love to use and share with our friends. We’ll be sure to let you know.
Thank you very much for taking the time to reach out!