Interview with the beautiful brand Bolsa Bags
Hello you lovely GratiDude! This beautiful soul I have for you today is an eco-warrior with a heart full of passion and a kick-arse range of amazing up-cycled products. I stumbled across these beautiful products while exploring the Byron Bay Artistic Market one evening and fell in love with them. I always feel my heart break when I see the condition our gorgeous planet is in, so when I met this soul and heard her story/found out what she is doing, I knew you would all want to meet her too! So without further ado, let me introduce you to the beautiful Bolsa Bags! ♥
What is your Name, Business Name and star sign?
Enriqueta Marquez, The Bolsa Bags, Leo (verging on Virgo!).
Tell us a bit about yourself and the beautiful things you are doing.
I am convinced that everything we do: matters. Every little thing does.
So I try to generate an impact awakening a bit more consciousness on the way we relate to plastic. I´ve learnt to do this many years ago back home, in Argentina, and since then the concept just struck me. I love doing what I do, because I love the way Bolsa Bags can turn waste that is directly going into landfill (should we also start calling it “ocean-fill”?) into a new, funky, upcycled item that will last for such a long time, being so handy, practical and versatile! I love my bags, and the more I use them: the more I love them.
Do you have a mission statement?
Let´s make it happen: let´s change our paradigm; let´s create the world we want to share together.
What was your inspiration for creating Bolsa Bags? Did inspiration strike out of the blue or was there a lead up to manifesting your ideas and designs?
Bolsa Bags was (and still is) such a slow process for me! I´ve been up-cycling plastic bags for the last six years or so, and since then the idea of doing something like what I am doing today started to grow in my mind: how cool would it be if we could, eventually, up-cycle the whole plastic waste that is out there and minimise the production of it?! Last year I took a long shot and I decided to give it a go: I attended my very first market ever. And it was great. Since then I´ve been polishing Bolsa Bags into what it is today, and learnt that the path of getting better is endless! I´ve started to develop more conceptual ideas, and putting them into my designs.
I like to link the bags to the idea that plastic just does not vanish into the air, and that it directly affects our environment, our ecosystem and our lives: that plastic is here to stay, so we better make a good conscious use of it. So I´ve started to use patterns inspired in this beautiful nature that surrounds us.
I feel that Bolsa Bags will always be developing and changing, just like ourselves.
Tell us about the process of creating your amazing products.
I created Bolsa Bags through re-purposing “single use” soft plastic waste (low and medium density polyethylene). So the process begins with a lot of cleaning. And cleaning again. And again. Santos Organics provides a lot of the plastic we use, since single use plastic bags are a very common way for transporting food so hygiene is a must. Once all the plastic is clean, we have to sort it: different densities, different colours, different ways to react to the process of fusing them together, and so on. The designs I create are based on, mainly, two things: the colours I have available on more constant basis (for example, a lot of the blue plastic bags come from bread deliveries, green from coffee beans…), and the fact that I always wanted my designs to be associated with nature. So I cut all the different colour plastic bags into the shapes that I designed (clouds and sea, and rain, and trees) and then lay them down like little collages, using several layers of different plastic bags as my canvas (each bag I make is individually handcrafted, therefore no two are the same). I finally thermofuse all the layers together, getting the one sheet of plastic that preserves all the good properties of plastic (?!): it is strong, very hard to tear, it can hold a lot of weight while being lightweight, it is waterproof and nothing really sticks to it so it is really easy to clean and super long lasting. The sentence “single use plastic bag” just breaks my heart!
Quick note: neither low nor medium density polyethylene contains BPA (so the bags are safe to carry food).
Every day we are shown the negative ways that we are impacting on our beautiful planet. Do you have some tips or advice on how we can stop this in our everyday life?
I guess that consciousness is step number one towards a healthier planet. So ride your bike everywhere you can, carry your own shopping bags, try to support local farmers markets and economies, bring your own reusable containers when buying bulk foods, try to compost as much as you can and try to minimise your rubbish in everything you can: you´ll find that a lot of what cannot be compostable nor recycled happens to be packaging. I do prefer things coming in glass jars instead of plastic, and prioritise local and plastic free over any other alternatives. I found through talking to people at the markets that there is a lot of both misinformation and ignorance in the effects and the life cycle of plastic amongst us. Hopefully the more we learn, the more we will understand to make the decisions that makes us happier. We have this planet: lets love it.
In your life right now, what is your top 5 things you are grateful for?
1. Being able to do what I love and believe in.
2. Understanding the chance of growth that comes with every experience.
3. Having my family visit.
4. Being surrounded by people that empower me.
5. Being able to enjoy nature and simple things.
What you are doing is so awe-inspiring. What or who inspires you and why?
A lot of my inspiration comes from people that come my way somehow, people that are doing what they love and that are living their lives with their own rules.
People that come to my stall at markets are great inspiration! Just like you, people that come to me and love what I do as much as I do bathes me in a joy that is so very inspiring. It is the reason I find to validate what I do. So big thank you, by the way.
I have an “inspiration board” on my desk´s wall where I keep on pinning up notes and quotes and drawings and collages and flowers and pictures and whatever comes my way I find inspiring somehow.
Some of my favourites are three Belinda Suzette prints hanging on my desk wall that I find really inspiring as a sequence because they remind me how there are bigger things than oneself, how everything we go through makes us who we are and not to forget to follow our dreams: the journey is so worth it.
Do you have a favourite quote or piece of advice that inspires you daily?
For this year, my motto is “2016: let it be it”. But as a general guide and personal totem, there is this quote from a Moondog´s song that called “Do your thing” and it says “do your best, and opportunity will do the rest”. Just love the simplicity of the words for such an intricate and gutty feeling.
Any advice for the other beautiful souls out there that have a positive uplifting idea or concept but may be at a loss/struggling on how to move their plans out of their heads and into reality?
Conquer your fears. For me that is still the most difficult part of trying to get Bolsa Bags plan moving forward. Circumstances had forced me into situations I thought I would never be able to handle. Not only did I handle: I grew, I moved forward, and I got what I wanted to get happening: happening… I was so grateful after all! Sometimes all we need is a little (not-so-little) push. Think of it. Envision it. And make it happen. Enjoy the ride in the meantime.
I am a bit of a perfectionist freak (that could be the virgo!), and nothing ever happens to be exactly the way I want it to be. But I´ve learnt that sometimes good enough is exactly that: good enough. Make sure you don’t get stuck. Cliché as it sounds: trust. Not (only) in the universe: but in yourself. I am trying not to take life too seriously lately. Having fun through the path. Knowing that as far as I am committed and open, there is no decision such as a bad decision. It is all part of the process. It is all learning. The first page of my lovely 2016 Olive and the Volcano calendar reads a quote from Hunter S. Thompson: “Buy the ticket. Take the ride”. You´ll see yourself flourishing.
COMING SOON …Etsy Shop! (Keep an eye on this space for details!)
And finally: Please finish this sentence: Gratitude to me is…
…that feeling of joy in doing something. Of achievement, of self realisation, of peace. Read something the other day saying something like “when it is all finalised, you´ll realise that nothing was random”. You know that feeling? I think of that when I think of gratitude: a big honest smile in your face.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦