About five or six years ago, my daughter Dawn (who lives in Hawaii), gave me this shopping bag from a local grocery store there. I really liked the print, Hawaiian quilts, and I especially loved the bags's size and shape. I used this bag a lot (can you see the duct tape?)! I modified the handle so it wasn't so long and reinforced it to keep it strong. Although this bag is functional, it doesn't stand on it's own like most reusable bags are. So in 2012, I set out to design a bag that was practical and functional.
Most people use bags they have around the house and with those, you need to use it with two hands (sometimes three) - not very practical. Even with reusable grocery bags you buy, you need at least two hands. Well, all that has changed with my Hands Free Grocery Bag.
This is the first bag I designed, it had just the center loop and you needed an extra hand to load your groceries, not practical and difficult to use.
I took a look at the function of the bag stand at my grocery store and thought that what my bag needed was a sleeve to hold it open so it could be loaded hands free.
I tried button holes, but you still needed a hand to hold the bag open.
I tried to sew a sleeve and made a flap that you could slide on to the bag stand, but that was too cumbersome to use.
I then sewed the sleeve directly to the side of the bag and voila, genius!!
Storing the bag was another issue. I wanted the bag to be self contained to where you didn't need a separate pouch to store the bag in. I saw this bag and came up with a pocket in the front. You fold the bag and basically stick your hand in the pocket and invert everything into the pocket. That worked okay, but it didn't always lie flat.
I even made a mistake and made the pocket longer which created a flap so you could close it with a button.
Then I started thinking of people who don't have the manual dexterity to invert the bag, so I went back to the drawing board and came up with folding the bag and putting a snap closure and it worked!
When the bag is in use, you just tuck the strap into the strap loop.
I am so jazzed about this bag. Every week, I do my grocery shopping at Country Aire Natural Foods Market. Most of the girls there know how to use my bag and love it - hands free loading for them. I always do self check out at Walmart and Safeway and use my bag and it's so nice.
My bag can hold about $50 worth of groceries (I actually managed $70 on one trip!). It is made of all cotton fabric and can be washed and dried in your machine - pressing for the creases is optional.
What is especially nice is that Country Aire has agreed to sell my bags at their store! I have been wanting this for years and it's finally happened. If my bags sell well, then they will ask for more and who knows, maybe they will be interested in my other products too!
My love of bags and my journey into designing them and others have come full circle for me. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to design and make bags. I can only hope that things will go up from here.
Thanks for reading about my bag journey.
Read part 2 where I demo how to use and fold my Hands Free Grocery Bag.
Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Email is the best way to contact me, and please be sure that your email address is sited so I can write you back.Thanks!