We believe you can feel on top of the world while doing good for the world, and that's why we've partnered with Cycle of Good to turn our waste into beautiful things that help end poverty in one of the poorest communities in the world.
Hessian coffee sacks are beautiful. That's right. They come in all sorts of prints and are super strong, so it seems like such a waste to use them just once and send them to landfill.
So instead, Cycle of Good take our old coffee sacks to Malawi, where they employ 12 Malawian tailors full time, paying above national living wage and offering full employment rights such as paid holiday and pensions. These talented tailors transform our sacks (plus old bicycle inner tubes and stunning locally printed cloth) into incredible, functional bags.
All of the Cycle of Good team in Malawi live in the township of Chilomoni where the workshop is situated. Thanks to the inspiring work the team do, over 2000 women (and the occasional man!) have all completed a two year diploma in Tailoring and Design, using old sewing machines donated from the UK to learn all of the techniques necessary for dressmaking. Since then, they have completed further training focused on accessories production, offered by international volunteers. Regular, reliable employment is essential (although hard to come by) in Malawi. With no welfare state, if you cannot work, you cannot support your family.
Agnes is a widow who has two children, she says “Working with COG has seriously changed my life in a way that I have acquired some skills for example in sewing, and I can say that on my own I am an expert in my career. And talking about the salary, I am now able to support my family”.
Big thanks to Cycle of Good UK Manager George and Product Designer Sarah, for their work to make this happen. Thanks also to Smiths Coffee, who also donate their coffee sacks to this fantastic cause.
During George and Sarah's two week training trip, Sarah delivered training in 6 new products; in addition to the coffee sack bags, she worked with the tailors on tablet cases, a wash bag, buckles and messenger bags. The Chilomoni tailors loved learning new techniques and using the fantastic new material, and they were rightly proud of their resulting work. It was Sarah’s first ever trip to Malawi, she quickly adapted to teaching with Chichewa translation and the irregularity of power supply to the machines. She tasted her first nsima and spotted a few hippos. The women must have loved working with Sarah too, on her final day they presented her with a beautiful Chitenge dress and sang a farewell song in Chichewa.
You can read more about George and Sarah's two-week trip to train the team in Malawi here.
The resulting bags are available to buy here:
And also from Cycle fo Good. We know you’ll love them as much as we do, after all, they’re totally recycled and they’re transforming lives in Malawi through the provision of long term, sustainable and meaningful employment.
The best news is, the more coffee you drink, the more sacks we can send to these women to work their magic on!
What’s not to love about these bags of good?!