Sunday, January 31, 2010

BAGS BY MELISSA .....Environment Hero

Back in January I did a blog post 'Until Plastic Bags are Banned' drawing attention to the harm plastic bags are to the environment and even more so, what they do to our animal friends. Until a permanent fix is in place, we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to keep as many plastic bags out of the landfill.

There are multiple shops on Etsy that take this responsibility very seriously. I refer to them as 'Environment Heroes'.

Let me introduce to you .....
Environment Hero - Bags By Melissa

Q: What is the creative process you use to decide what to create for your Etsy store? I never really start out with a vision for a finished bag or wallet. It just sort of happens. I start out with a finished piece of fabric and then collage over it. I can find inspiration anywhere from bread bags to fortune cookie bags or sushi grass. I love to watch the bags take form.

Q: Are you selling your products on any other online venue other than Etsy? Not at the moment, but perhaps sometime soon. Etsy is the only online venue that I am currently using to sell my bags, but I do post many of them on my facebook page and have gotten lots of good response and ideas that way.

Q: Do you have any interest in selling your product in an actual store/market place? Absolutely. For a potential customer to be able to handle and try on a product would definitely have its advantages. I did have my bags in a shop here here in downtown Greensboro. I did a few holiday Bazaar's here also. I have a few places that have shown interest in carrying my bags locally and plan to get on that right after the Holidays.

Q: What are your favorite things to make with plastic bags? My favorite things to make with bags are purses/handbags. I get a lot of satisfaction out of turning trash into something that I see as beautiful. Often my handbag will catch someone's eye and they are wowed when they find out what it is made of. I also like to make wallets, business card holders and checkbook covers.

Q: Take a wild guess on how many plastic bags you have used to-date for your creations? It would be a very difficult guess as to how many plastic bags I have kept out of the landfill. Each bag that I make takes at least 8 bags just for the foundation and then I add on several layers. Best guess is that it is up over a thousand, maybe two. I bring my own bags to the grocery, and when I need more, I hit the recycle bin. I wish that more people would think to recycle their bread bags, news paper bags, food bags...etc.

Q: What will you do when plastic bags are officially banned in the U.S.? I am not really worried about what I will do when plastic bags are banned in the U.S. It would be better for the planet. We are currently drowning our oceans, our forests, and our back yards in them and I do not think that I will find a shortage of plastic bags anytime soon. If there is a shortage of them in our near future, I am a pretty resourceful person and will find a way or another passion.

Q: For someone to get to know you, how would you describe yourself? I am a Mother, a Massage Therapist and an Aesthetician. I have always had a passion for crafting and for re-cycling. y My home is decorated in found, refurbished objects. I was home from work about two years ago with acute tendonitis when a friend told me that you could make fabric from plastic bags. I was living in a town in Louisiana that did not recycle and had a mountain of bags that I did not know what to do with. My first couple of attempts at fusing were hysterical. Determination, trial and error is about the only advice that I can give. I gave up on the idea for a little while and started to crochet things made from plarn (plastic bag yarn). When I moved to North Carolina, my sewing machine came back out of storage and I went back to the ironing board. Once I got the hang of it, it did not take long for my creative juices to start flowing. I have always been the sort of crafter that only gifted. When I started making bags, the really fabulous friends that I have here encouraged me to market them. I was reluctant at first, but it has really been loads of fun. It makes me happy when I sell a bag to see the smile on the purchaser's face and how happy that they are with their new "green" bag. They also feel that they are doing something for the planet by carrying one of my creations.

Here are a few additional creative designs for you to enjoy:

Don't forget ........ Green is the new Black!
I hope you enjoyed meeting Bags By Melissa as much as I have.....

Please come back and visit soon so you can meet the next Environment Hero!!!!


  1. thanks for sharing! c'mon and join us in helping save our planet...let's go green!


  2. Super cool awesome and smart !!! Love it love it love it!

  3. You will be happy to know that the Louisiana town where you once lived has very recently started a recyling program that many, many citizens are embracing.

    Keep up the great work and we'd love to see you come "home" every now and then!

  4. how resourceful and eco conscious! really nice to hear more about Melissa's work. thanks for sharing!

  5. Awesome! I actually own 2 bags and a wallet. They are eco-friendly and sturdy! I love them!