The story of FunkyJunk Recycled is an amazing one, and we here at Hipcycle are extremely proud to be a part of it. We think one of the best things about Hipcycle products are the stories they tell: the inspiration of the manufacturer, the benefits of the product, and the positive impact on the environment. All of these things combine together to contribute to a product that is much more interesting than a conventional product.
FunkyJunk came into being while Debbie Watkins, a globe-trotting Brit, was travelling in Cambodia. She loved the people and the culture so much that she decided to stay, eventually setting up a social enterprise travel agency. While building this business, she came to see the thousands of plastic bags that were littering the environment. They were hanging out of the trees, blowing down the streets, and clogging up the landfills. So she decided to do something about it.
She created a market for these bags by buying them from the same people who collect bottles, cans, and other recyclable materials. She did this before she even knew what to do with them. Crazy, huh?
Eventually, she developed a method to transform the bags into products. But not just any old products, but rather beautiful handbags, floor cushions, placemats, and all kinds of other neat stuff of great design and with amazing colors. Funky junk at its finest, indeed.
How is this done? First the bags are thoroughly washed and dried, then cut into loops that can then be looped to each other to become a yarn of sorts. This yarn is then crocheted into the products. An amazing upcycle to go from something gross and unwanted to becoming a luxury item worthy of the world’s finest boutiques.
Even better, the team at FunkyJunk that makes these products are paid a fair living wage for their work, allowing them to better support their families.
When we at Hipcycle learned about Debbie and the work she had done in creating FunkyJunk, we knew we just had to get involved. We are the North American distributor for FunkyJunk, and are fully dedicated to making these products a success in this market. We have added our own bit to the story by partnering with the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation to fulfill orders for FunkyJunk products. CVR is a non-profit that offers supported work and other services to people with disabilities, and I strongly encourage you to learn more about them and support their efforts.
Our goal at Hipcycle is to help exponentially grow the market for these products by introducing them to American and Canadian consumers. We sell them retail, and you can also see a growing list of other retailers here. If you have a retail outlet, and are interested in carrying FunkyJunk Recycled products, please click here.
Want to learn more about FunkyJunk Recycled? Check out this piece produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation. At 10 minutes, it may seem long, but it is totally engrossing and worth watching:
To stay up-to-date on FunkyJunk, become a Hipcycle Insider!
Andrew Sell is Founder and Chief Hipcycler at Hipcycle, an e-commerce site for great upcycled products. Things like FunkyJunk remind him how rewarding entrepreneurship and social enterprise can be.