Company: Kind Bag
Founder: Maria Rodriguez
About Kind Bag
Back in 2019, I went around Asia. I saw sights of astounding beauty but was faced with the realities of plastic pollution. In amongst the beautiful scenery, my eyes were met with mountains of plastic waste, and I knew something had to be done! This trip, combined with my struggle to find a reusable bag that was big enough, kind to the environment and stylish, led to my decision to found Kind Bag. I reached a point where I had the know-how and resources to launch a small business, help tackle plastic pollution, and help businesses and consumers phase out single-use plastic bags!
Kind Bag was founded with my own savings and made almost £500,000 in sales in our first year of trading. We started with just 12 designs of reusable bags; we now have over 120 products and have rescued over 4.5 million plastic bottles from landfill! Our online presence is also ever-increasing. Sales through the website have been doubling year on year, making £30k in the first year and achieving over £175k at the end of this financial year.
When COVID happened we’d been in the market for less than 6 months. The UK was becoming difficult, with fear of lockdowns making stockists too apprehensive to take risks with a new brand. Undeterred by the setbacks, we felt if we couldn’t do it at home, we should explore opportunities elsewhere. Japan was our first breakthrough country with great sales and feedback in the first year. This gave us the motivation we needed to keep going during the pandemic and continue knocking on doors till we got through. We are now selling in over 25 countries and have a long list of stockists that are growing month by month.
In the last year we’ve opened our first EU warehouse and a US one to cover North America. Our international expansion has been one of our biggest achievements yet, and we are already being stocked in Barnes and Nobles and have opened in an Atlanta gift showroom. This expansion is great not only for sales figures but allows us to vastly increase the number of plastic bottles we are recycling!
Kind Bag is female-founded and we are huge advocates for seeing women in business succeed. We often collaborate with other female-run businesses for brand partnerships and collaborate with female artists for our limited-edition collections. We are a multicultural team and aim to work with those that promote diversity in everything from body inclusion, LGBTQ+ and disabilities to ensure our online spaces are safe and inclusive for everyone.
Kind Bag is the culmination of a life dedicated to learning from mistakes, wanting to make the world a better place for future generations and of a creative and innovative spirit. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to create a product and brand that brings together a fantastic team of colleagues who inspire me to be the best boss, and person, and continue to provide our customers with excellent products.