You may remember seeing Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East’s billboard campaign, “Habitat for Portland” around town last fall. After the billboards came down, ReStore Managers Shel Mae and Alex Bertolucci spent some time thinking about the best use for the billboards. The first thought was to display them at our ReStores, but then Alex suggested they be turned into reusable tote bags. The Billboards to Bags Project was born!
With a little sewing experience under her belt, Shel Mae designed a simple, easy to assemble bag. Rob Maldonado, our Portland ReStore Warehouse Assistant, turned Shel’s drawings into hard board patterns, and Cindy Correll, our Marketing Manager, created labels for the bags.
Our first cutting day was a huge success! Seven excited volunteers showed up to the Portland ReStore for the project. Our first banner was so big that when we unrolled it, it took up an entire aisle way in the ReStore! Just managing the size and getting it cut was a major undertaking. But by the end of the day, we had 135 bags ready to sew.
With the help of a ReStore volunteer, we discovered Spooltown, a small, locally owned and operated sewing factory on N. Williams Ave. Spooltown worked with us to finalize the pattern and gave us a very reasonable price to produce the bags.
The billboard bags turned out great, and they are for sale now for only $10 each at our Portland, Beaverton and Vancouver stores. Watch our video that tells the story.