Sunday, March 15, 2009

Everything Up Close BAG Giveaway

From Everything Up Close: "Recently, I came across a company that makes the most interesting and original eco-friendly products that I have ever seen. The company is called English Retreads and they makes one-of-a-kind fashion accessories, such as handbags, wallets, belts, etc., from recycled rubber, which is taken from the inner tubes of truck tires.

When I first saw the items made by English Retreads, I immediately wondered how on earth someone would come up with such a unique idea. Since I don’t want to change the details of the story regarding how English Retreads came to be, I am quoting directly from the English Retreads’ “Our Story” webpage: “Heather English got the idea for English Retreads when she was floating down Boulder Creek on, you guessed it, an inner tube. ‘I needed a new handbag but I was a hardcore vegetarian. I wanted something that was fashionable and invincible—but not made from leather,’ Heather explains. ‘I didn’t find what I was looking for, so I went to McGuckin's [a favorite local hardware store], bought some tools, and started my own personal sweatshop—with me doing the sweating.’ After friends started asking for a bag just like hers, Heather knew she was on to something and English Retreads hit the road in 2001.”

I love Heather’s story and I wish I were this creative. I love to see that she is taking something that has been used as much as it can be for it’s original purpose and then turning it into a brand new item with a renewed lifespan. I was amazed to read that the inner tubes that English Retreads uses likely have over 60,000 miles on it! That is amazing! Did you know that 60,000 miles is nearly the same as travelling around the Earth’s equator two and a half (2.5) times? I enjoyed Heather’s quote, “Just think of all the places these tubes have been. Now it’s your turn to add to their miles and adventures.”

English Retreads’ mission is to “create classic, one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted accessories that make a high-impact fashion statement and a low impact on the environment.” Not only does English Retreads use 100% recycled, post-consumer, cruelty-free and vegan products, but they also ensure they are continuing to protect the environment in their production practices. English Retreads believes in the importance of offsetting all (100%) of the carbon emissions that are given off from their business activities. This includes their manufacturing operations, shipping methods, and even the commute of their employees. I am glad to see a company truly taking the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) seriously!

English Retreads gave me a chance to try out one of their eco-friendly purses: the Mini Luxe (lined). Since the color English toffee matches almost everything I own, I chose that one. Just to confirm, the Mini Luxe is completely black, except for the fabric straps, which come in three different colors. Besides the toffee strap color I chose, the Mini Luxe also comes in racing green and chrome. The Mini Luxe is a classic boxcar shape and has two strips of fun circular cutouts down the front of the purse, which allow the colors of the straps to stand out and give the bag some extra detail.

When I opened the package that was sent to me, I immediately took note of the size of the bag. When I saw the dimensions and pictures of the Mini Luxe on their website, I actually thought it would be a bit smaller than it actually is. I love that this purse is generously sized and bigger than my current purse. The Mini Luxe measures 13” wide, 6.5” high, and 2” in diameter, and has 19” straps. In addition, the inside of the purse has a zipper pocket that is great for storing small items. Finally, the Mini Luxe features a zipper closure to ensure contents of your purse aren’t left behind.

When testing the Mini Luxe, I had room for everything in my regular purse, plus more. I was able to fit all of the following and still have room: my wallet, my business card holder, another wallet (which is approximately 1.5” thick, 3” long and 2” wide), my keys, an Envirosax shopping bag, my cell phone, a notepad, a package of gum, a memory stick, some ‘feminine products’, a watch, and approximately 5 pens/pencils. I was definitely shocked by how much this purse could fit.

Additionally, I was quite impressed with the workmanship of the Mini Luxe. The rubber appears to be attached with some type of glue and mini-brads to ensure a strong hold. All the stitching seems to be very sturdy and likely to last indefinitely.

Finally, because the Mini Luxe is made from rubber, it is virtually waterproof and very easy to clean. To clean the Mini Luxe, all you need to do is take a damp cloth and wipe the purse clean. I don’t know of any other purse that is this easy to clean…I love it! English Retreads even mentions that you can “make the rubber shine like new with any standard tire cleaner.” Very neat!

In conclusion, this purse is great because it is eco-friendly, fashionable, and designed well overall. I especially like that this purse is made with 100% post consumer products. I feel confident knowing that no one else will have a purse like mine…it is definitely one-of-a-kind!

How many winners will there be? Two.

What can you win? Each winner will receive a Mini Luxe purse with their choice of strap color from English Retreads.

To enter, go sign up for the English Retreads newsletter, then come back here and tell me the email address you used to sign-up with. This must be done in order to receive an entry as well as additional entries in the giveaway."

Click here to enter


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