At first, Tina Beatty's Eco Lunch Gear
was just focused around getting kid's school lunches into a more sustainable and organic-friendly format.
The Northwest Michigan mom and businesswoman began making her own lunch bags, sandwich bags, snack bags and napkins out of washable, organic cotton fabrics, and they've been a huge hit with her customers online.
That was last year
-- now the line of Eco Lunch Gear products has grown to include the latest offering, placemats.
"While searching for organic cottons to do my sandwich wraps and snack bags, I came across some awesome prints that were made out of organic cotton twill (a heavier fabric). I wondered how I could get these into my line--I had thought about placemats but just didn't know the exact design I wanted to do until recently. I love that it's double sided; not only do they hold up nice and match, but you can flip them over and use the other side before tossing it in the wash," says Beatty of the newest addition to the product line.
Beatty and another employee sew all the products themselves, and so far are keeping up with demand, including placing some Eco Lunch Gear products on local store shelves in Traverse City and around the area.
As the business grows, Beatty is working to make it easier for customers, both online shoppers and wholesale customers, to connect with Eco Lunch Gear.
"We have changed the site a little bit; (we) put in a 'fabric' tab so the customers can have a quick reference to what fabrics are available; a 'wholesale' tab was added so now the retail stores can order directly on the site," she says.
The fabrics and prints offered are changing constantly; Beatty chooses designs from a few specialty fabric companies who provide organic-fiber fabrics in small batches, so as each print is used up, the choices for customers change with the seasons. Beatty says new prints are coming for spring and summer, as well.
And, placemats are far from the end of the line, as new Eco Lunch Gear products go.
"Something else that I plan on adding soon are larger sized cinch sacks--people have been asking about those too," says Beatty.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Tina Beatty, Eco Lunch Gear