Did you see us “bagged” in the newspaper?
As a start-up business, publicity is extremely important so we were absolutely thrilled to be profiled for Fairfax Media’s Small Business section. The article ran on February 26, 2016 in newspapers throughout Australia and if you haven’t read the article, you can do so here.
But then we read the comments after the article. While there were a number of people who were supportive of us, there were a few people who were extremely negative. From price to our choice of nylon, we were “bagged” for decisions we had made. (See what we did there?)
We’ll be honest- we were initially a bit shocked by the negativity but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. We know you can’t make everyone happy, but we’re both extremely positive people who believe in supporting others, especially if they are risk-takers, dreamers and those who believe in living to the fullest (we’ve got a particular fondness for these sorts of people).
However, as some points made in the comments were valid, we thought we’d address them:
COST: Someone decided our product was too expensive. This shouldn’t be a surprise- what is expensive for one person is inexpensive for another. Different people have different ideas of value and what they would pay for quality. While one particular person has decided our product is too expensive for her, we have others telling us we could charge more.
We chose the prices we did based on the cost of producing the Market Bags and getting them to market. We felt it was important to create a good quality product that would last and doing that requires a certain quality of materials that cost more than something made cheaply.
MATERIALS: The majority of negative comments were directed toward our choice of materials, namely our use of nylon fabric. We initially chose nylon for its strength and durability; it’s no good creating a reusable bag that falls apart and ends up in a landfill within five years! (That’s not to say we aren’t open to plant-based fabrics- we are always looking to improve our products and have been researching suppliers prior to the article’s publication).
While nylon is a synthetic material, the length of time it takes to breakdown is much shorter than that of a plastic bag. Nylon fabric can take 30-40 years to break down. By contrast, disposable plastic bags take anywhere from 500-1000 years depending on plastic type and conditions.[i]
Furthermore, single-use plastic bags also create havoc on the environment. From clogging waterways to ingestion by animals, plastic bags are a menace to our earth. And of course there are the sheer numbers. Some figures estimate the typical first-world family using disposable plastic bags takes home approximately 1,500 per year![ii] That’s a lot of plastic bags to fill up landfills, float down waterways and collect in our oceans.
Ultimately, we believe that sustainability comes in many forms and all steps towards protecting our earth are worthwhile. We love seeing more and more people understand that their small actions can make an improvement. And as much as it threw us initially, we also love seeing people who are so passionate about their opinions! As the anthropologist Margaret Mead stated,
"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."
Please send any other feedback our way. If you have used our bags, feel free to email us about how you’re finding them and if you haven’t, give them a try! We look forward to hearing from you!
[i] Ocean Conservancy’s Pocket Guide to Marine Debris (sourced from the US National Park Service).
[ii] Natural Resources Defense Council