Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Reincarnation of Boat Sails into Sea Bags

Sexy Sustainable Style is welcoming a new "sexy blogger" to its site. Her name is Sarah Reidy, and she's a eco-fashion lover who loves to share the latest and greatest sustainable finds...

Spring is here and for many women (and some men too), this means it’s time to move the clutter out of your old, tattered handbag and upgrade to a chic new “everything” bag (i.e. handbag, beach bag, laptop bag…you get the picture). I’m an eco-fashionista who loves finding handmade, eco-friendly products. So you can only imagine how thrilled I was to find the perfect sustainable “everything” bag after doing a simple web search! Sea Bags is the name, and they’re game is recycling used boat sails. Located in the working waterfront area of Portland, Maine, Sea Bags is a company that reincarnates used boat sails into environmentally friendly handbags with multi-functional purposes. Their motto reads, “Sailed around the World, Recycled in Maine.”

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Sea Bags store and meet with its two owners, Hannah Kubia and Beth Shissler. Hannah explained to me that she first conceived the idea for Sea Bags after seeing a bag her father had created from the fabric of a recycled sail. Soon after, Hannah began wondering where all the sails went after they were “retired” from sea. She began exploring the idea…Was there a sail afterlife? Established in 1999, Hannah, with the help of her business partner, Beth Shissler, launched Sea Bags’ first eco- handbag collection. The two women have since grown their business into one that has attracted national media attention. Sea Bags has been given rave reviews by publications such as French Vogue, Martha Stewart, Vanity Fair, and Allure magazine, to name a few.

Beth and Hannah are always looking for used sails, and can use almost any sail, provided that it’s used (which makes sense). They’re willing to buy, trade, and accept sail donations. They’ll even arrange for the sail pick-up and pay the shipping! That’s just how dedicated this duo is to creating a second life for unwanted sails. Plus, Sea Bags keeps track of exactly how much material they need in order to produce their bags, so as to minimize waste. Their styles include a reusable shopping bag with a recycling symbol on it, a wine gift bag that is meant to be passed to the next person receiving wine, as well as smaller bags that can be used as an “everyday” handbag or lunch bag. The lightweight fabrics can be machine washed, and the recycled sail materials are surprisingly durable. The most popular designs right now are the Star and Anchor bags (love them!). You can give them as a gift or keep one (or two…) for yourself.

The Sea Bags family is very involved in their community and giving back. If you don’t want bags for your sail trade, Sea Bags will make a donation to Sail Maine Scholarship Fund for children to learn to sail or several other boating organizations. In addition to giving back to the sailing community, Sea Bags strongly supports the Maine Cancer Foundation. Hannah and her team created a limited edition Pink Ribbon bag to which 50% of the purchase price goes directly to the Maine Cancer Foundation! Can you believe that Sea Bags donated over $18,000 in 2008?! That’s awesome!

The Sea Bags “crew” is truly passionate about the environment and helping people. I suggest you click here and sail over to their site right now. See exactly why I love these worldly eco-bags so much!

Sarah Reidy
Contributing "sexy" blogger


  1. These are great bags. My favorite on their site is the bullet bag. I love bags and when I can find one that is made from an existing material, that makes it even better.

    Great find ;)


  2. I know! I was so surprised to see how many different types of bags Sea Bags offers as well. What I love is that you can machine wash them. That's really important since the sails are generally made of white fabric which can show dirt.

    I'm jealous that Sarah got to meet with the owners and play with all the goodies in the store. :-)


  3. I have 2 of their bags that I picked up while on vacation to Maine. They are great, and very durable- I Love these bags!

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  5. If you are in love with the ocean and are looking for something stylish yet functional Recycled Sail Bags to carry your goods, you will find Ella Vickers Recycled Sailcloth Collection bags to be a perfect fit. They are not only useful but they will also last for years.