Marie here, Founder of URBAG!
Today is a special day. URBAG was officially created 2 years ago and has launched online and in-store 1 year ago. Coincidentally it's also #womenentrepreneursshipday!
What a journey it has been!
I have been asked by many how I started this adventure so here I share a little more about my beginnings. The idea was born from frustration, really. I worked for two decades in sustainability with a particular focus on tackling single-use packaging. While the issue of single-use plastic was attracting attention, no one seemed to be addressing plastic waste from dry cleaning and laundry services.
Every time I was picking up my dry cleaning (husband's shirts really), I came back home with meters of plastic sheets. Why?
So, while on my first maternity leave, I started thinking about a solution that would be easy to use and more convenient. I do believe that convenience and simplicity make it easier to change behaviour and adopt a new lifestyle. I noticed that we always bring a bag with us to drop off our laundry. So what if that bag could somehow transform into a garment bag? Then we could leave it at the dry cleaner and use it to bring home our cleaned clothes. That solution would kill two birds with one stone (I don't particularly like this say but you get the idea!)
I sat at my dining table, and spent many evenings and nights creating prototypes from bedsheets. I borrowed a sewing machine from my friends, took sewing courses and relentlessly searched for the right textile to use.
I quickly realised that I had made something special because none of my Google searches returned any results for the new design I came up with. After many discussions with industry leaders and dozens of prototypes, I obtained a Registered Design Status with both the UKIPO and EUIPO.
A smarter, more luxurious, reusable and sustainable alternative to single-use plastic garment covers was born!
I presented URBAG to a few dry cleaners and immediately partnered with @joindroplet, whose director was super enthusiastic about it. Droplet has supported me since day 1 and has become a game-changing partner for us. Since then, they have stocked URBAG in 5 stores across London and URBAG is flying off the shelves.
We also have been growing our sales online and are currently working to develop partnerships with brands and sustainable marketplaces who share the same vision and values.
We have partnered with fashion designers and ethical manufacturers to bring you unique personalisation options such as hand-painted design and embroidery.
It has been an amazingly rewarding journey. Tough at times. While launching URBAG, I also got married, moved and renovated a new house, and had a new baby in 2020, 3 weeks after the 1st lockdown! URBAG survived a global pandemic, and we are currently navigating the challenges that Brexit brings to small businesses like us.
But I couldn't have been so proud to make it that far. I have had amazing business partners, friends and work colleagues that have been super supportive and believing in URBAG and in me.
We have so many more exciting news to come in the next 12 months.
Thank you everyone for your love and support!
Here to the next 12 months!