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This New Zealand company is giving billboard vinyl a new life

Who knew a billboard could make the perfect accessory?

Taking up-cycling to the extreme, Kiwi company Bagged transforms used billboard vinyl into high-quality bags and accessories, each with their own unique design.

Best friends Ben and Luke launched Bagged after being made aware of the staggering amount of billboard material being stockpiled in warehouses. Made from PVC (Polyvinyl chloride), vinyl is great for withstanding nature’s elements, however not so great when it comes to breaking down in landfill.

“Bagged was our creation to contribute to reducing waste as well as creating a truly unique product for consumers. Three characteristics that stuck out to us were; waterproof, UV proof, and incredibly durable. If those aren’t elements to make a cool bag, what is?”

Ben Spence (left) and Luke Smee

As all billboard skins are different depending on the original advertising campaign, no two people will have the same product.

“More people are getting the confidence to express their individual identity and making a product to suit that need was huge for Bagged.

“You may end up with a bag from the same billboard campaign as someone else, but no one in the world will have the same style bag or accessory as you do.”

With prior backgrounds in sales, starting a business was always on the horizon for Ben and Luke. They always anticipated this future venture to fulfil a market need/solve a problem or contribute to the environment.

“There’s definitely a growing trend for businesses that are environmentally conscious. Consumers are now more concerned about the origin of raw materials, the process of manufacturing and their carbon foot print.

“Globally we are seeing more brands utilising materials such as ‘recycled plastics’ or sustainably grown plants such as hemp.”

Although still in its early days, the company has already received an overwhelming response, which the boys say has been extremely encouraging. Thanks to organic engagement and social media they are even close to selling out of some styles.

“Just the outpouring of encouragement and support we’ve had from people, impressed with both the concept and the products – that’s a business success at this early stage. It tells us our idea has market appeal, and tonnes of future potential – if we play our cards right.”

Potential in the air, the duo aim to bring more products to market and grow the brand in New Zealand and Australia. Bagged currently only ships domestically, however has plans to ship globally in the near future.

“Working with corporates is also something we wish to do. If they use their own billboard vinyl from their campaign, we can turn them into a selected bag from our collection. This would be simultaneously beneficial for both reducing their carbon footprint as well as doing something creative beyond a marketing campaign.”

Ultimately the duo hopes their business will make consumers more conscious of how products are made as well as their manufacturing journey.

“We are certain more brands will be created with unique principles that make them stand out from big players. Cool kiwi/global brands like Allbirds and Goodlids are companies that motivated us and we wish to pass that on to others.”

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