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Echoes in the Attic's Eco-Milestones

Local "mompreneurs" Vicky Gerke and Laura Langevin celebrated a couple of milestones recently.

It's been 8 years since they launched their up-cycling "eco-empire", Echoes in the Attic, making "upcycled eco-handbags for planet lovers" using fabric rescued from landfill.

Their goal at the time was to divert what seemed like a daunting 25,000 lbs. of fabric from landfill, by 2010 - and to create a business that would be sustainable, in more than one sense.

Fast-forward to February 2013, and the duo has surpassed all of their goals. Echoes in the Attic now has a national profile, thanks in large part to 2-minute spotlights by CTV National News and Canada AM in June of 2012, that profiled partners Gerke and Langevin as "CANADIAN ORIGINALS."

"Everything ramped up since then, and we are happy to report that Echoes has now diverted from landfill 40,000 lbs. of excess textiles," said Langevin. "The fabrics are donated by forward-thinking international companies, who eco-donate instead of adding more to bloated landfills."

The duo have "re-envisioned" the reclaimed textiles into thousands of handbags, totes, cross-body flatbags, diaper bags, laptop bags and yoga totes, that have found a ready market in 120 stores all across Canada. The "vegan" eco-bags are available from BC, to the Yukon and Northwest Territories, to the east coast - but continue to be produced at Echoes in the Attic's Bradford HQ.

"What started out as a little eco-endeavour, doing our small part to "save the planet, one handbag at a time" has even surprised and exceeded our expectations," says Gerke. "So many people and companies are helping us by being forward-thinking about their excess fabrics. We'd be nowhere without them!"

"After our 2 minutes of fame in June 2012, on the CTV National News and Canada AM, profiling us as Canadian Originals, sales went crazy," adds Langevin. She describes it as "win-win" - donating fabrics reduces disposal costs for companies and keep tonnes of material out of landfill, while keeping costs down for Echoes so that retailers can offer upcycled options at great prices.

"We're just two people who had an idea," says Langevin, "and the impact on the environment has been huge.... 40,000 lbs. less landfill - and instead, beautiful products we see being carried everywhere, made from what was considered by some as mere garbage."

Echoes in the Attic is based in Bradford. See www.echoesintheattic.com or facebook.com/EchoesFan


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