Webcast done for abesmarket.com
Webcast Producer & Graphics: abesmarket.com
Technical Production by: delackmediagroup.com
Richard: How are you guys doing? Welcome to “Abe’s Live.”
Lisa: Hi, guys!
Anne: Good. How are you guys doing?
Richard: Great. Where are you right now? What are we looking into?
Anne: You’re look into the back of our office.
Ryan: We’re in Pegosa Springs, Colo. We’ve got a little studio here that we work out of. We’ve got a few bags in the background, and all our storage behind that.
Lisa: We’ve got your bags.
Richard: We are lucky enough to have several bags with us.
Lisa: So cool.
Richard: Tell us about these bags. First of all, tell us what they’re made of because they have a very strong feel to them. We were joking before – they’re not made of hemp, correct?
Ryan: No. They’re 100 percent recycled polyester, so basically all the PET bottles that are recycled. They grind them down, and melt them and re-spin them into fabrics. That’s basically what the main body fabric is. So 100 percent recycled, which is a really good thing that a lot of places are offering now.
Richard: Sorry. So, you collect old bottles? Or someone’s collecting old plastic bottles and turning them into bags?
Ryan: The factory is.
Lisa: Oh, cool.
Anne: One day, we hope to big enough that we can do it ourselves and open a factory here and do it, but right now the factory does it.
Richard: Got it. And everyone’s 100 percent certain that’s how they’re making their fabric – off the PET bottles?
Ryan: Yes. I’ve visited them before the fabric mills, and they’ve shown me the process. It’s a pretty cool extensive thing they’re doing. They also take regrinds from other fabric – like the buckles, the little pieces of hardware that are on the bags – those are all regrinds from faulty production runs. They’ll grind them up and use them again. So, pretty cool process.
Lisa: Very cool, and for people watching who can't feel these, they’re really sturdy. Wouldn’t you say that they’re super sturdy?
Richard: Yes. Very strong. I’m not worried – are they waterproof, given that they’re made out of old bottles?
Ryan: The backing – there’s a rubberized coating on the inside of the bag. I don’t know how well you can see that, but it’s on the underside of the fabric. We use a backing that’s called TPE, which is – I can't remember exactly what it stands for – but basically it’s a nontoxic version of PVC, and it actually makes the fabrics waterproof. It’s like a rubberized coating that won't allow water to penetrate. But water can seep in through the seams and zippers, so they’re not completely waterproof, but we call them water-resistant.
Richard: Got it.
Lisa: Don’t go swimming. It will not be good. We try to work them over pretty good.
Richard: I cut you off. You were talking about what they’re made out of, and then you were telling us a little about the buckles. Keep going.
Interviewee: Well, that’s basically – the outside fabric’s 100 percent recycled. All the hardware’s 100 percent recycled. All the hardware’s 100 percent recycled. The webbing’s 100 percent recycled. The internal lining is upcyled. We purchased that from what’s left over from other companies that sits in a warehouse basically though. They’ll do a production run and have a few hundred yards of fabric left over and basically won't ever use it. We’ll find a color that we like and basically go in and use up the rest of that fabric. At least it is utilized at some point. So that’s our internal linings. We’re experimenting with some new stuff at the moment as far as different fabrics for our next production run. Then we’re also looking at manufacturing here in the U.S. Actually here in Colorado. We’re working on that right now. I’d say the first of next year, we’ll be releasing our first stab at that, so we’re really excited about that as well.
Richard: This is just so impressive. The word we always think of is smart. Why not use some of the products already in circulation or reuse them for practical applications like making them into bags? It’s smart. You’re not sacrificing. These things are actually very sturdy.
Lisa: It’s so sturdy. I can't get over it.
Richard: And obviously very cool.
Lisa: And very cool.
Richard: And what is this design here?
Ryan: We can't actually see you, but …
Anne: I think there are four different ones.
Ryan: We have six products all together with 10 color ways. So we have a little tote bag.
Anne: But the designs are yours.
Ryan: The designs all come from us. I’ve been designing bags for larger brands in the U.S. and Europe for about 10 years now. So we basically decided to take a stab at doing it ourselves.
Anne: We put the artwork on it.
Ryan: All the artwork and everything all comes from us in house. We do all the screen prints on the back.
Anne: That’s Olaf the Elephant. They all have names.
Ryan: They all have an animal connotation and basically the idea behind that was to incorporate art work into the bag, and then also have a tie-in with one of the foundations that we collaborate with – the Wild Foundation out of Boulder. They’re a pretty amazing company. They do a lot of conservation in many, many ways worldwide – really great company. They’re very highly [inaudible].
Lisa: Very cool. We actually have a fan who wants to know how can take care of these? Can you put them in the washing machine? Or how do you wash these?
Ryan: You can't put them in the washing machine. You can hand wash them with hot water and soap. We’ve washed them before, and it did okay, but the stitching will eventually begin to start to wear down a little bit. It’s better to hand wash them.
Lisa: Awesome. Also, do you suggest a bag for a 5- to 8-year-old?
Ryan: 5-8 year-old. Oh, we have one on our web site and your web site – the Trunk Pack. It’s a smaller – about 12 inches tall by 10 inches wide by 5 inches deep. It’s a basic day pack for children. All our nieces and nephews run around with those.
Anne: We make them wear them. [inaudible] They have those, and the Approaching is probably the next. That’s a little bit bigger. Our nephew who’s 7 uses that one. But the little ones that are around 5 and in kindergarten – they use the Trunk Pack.
Richard: Let’s just clarify – the two of you are husband and wife, correct?
Anne: Yes. We are.
Ryan: We’ve been married for over eight years now.
Richard: Wow! And I read that you’re big hikers outdoor people, and this was a passion of yours. Is that correct? Tell us more about how you started the company.
Ryan: Basically, we actually grew up together in the same town in Ohio. Then we moved around. We both went to school. I went to school for industrial design. Anne’s background is in horses and opera.
Ryan: We got married after college, and then moved to Hood River, Ore., and worked for an outdoor company there. Basically, we both enjoy outdoor sports year round. So we did that for a few years, and then moved to Australia for three years. We’ve been jumping round quite a bit, but we decided Colorado is home base.
Anne: Stay in Colorado. My family is in Colorado as well, so it works out super well. But yeah, we kind of jumped around everywhere, and we have dogs, horses, a cat – all kinds of animals. We enjoy the outdoors a lot, and the bags just fell into place, because Ryan had always worked with the big guys. We wanted to do our own thing, and he still works with a lot of those same companies. But this is kind of our little side project that we’re doing. We wanted to be more environmental, because we’re pretty environmental. So it worked out pretty well…and just kind of started it.
Richard: We’re really excited for you. Let me ask a very personal question. What’s it like working with your spouse?
Anne: It’s interesting. I quit a lot. I quit this morning, actually. It is tricky. My parents did it for years, and some people you run into are like, “You should not work with your spouse. It is not a good idea.” But we get along pretty well, and if things get a little testy, we’ll say, “Let’s go take a walk or go cross-country skiing or let’s go do something so we don’t pull each other’s hair out.” We have separate offices. Mine’s over here, and his is over there, so I can launch things at him. It works out pretty well for us. I don’t know if it would work for everyone.
Ryan: We’ve been doing it for quite a while now. We’ve got a good pattern going.
Richard: Wow. That is very impressive. I guess the clichéd question is – do you talk about business around the dinner table?
Anne: We try not to. But we do. It’s impossible not to. Maybe with a glass of wine. We discuss it more when we’re out. I think it’s best to do it when you’re exercising our out skiing and chat about it. We went up the other day and chatted about it on the lift. I try not to take it all home, because you’re with it all day. Then if you take it home, some parts of it are stressful. We enjoy it. It’s always different when you’re working for yourself. That’s the biggest thing.
Ryan: Yeah, you hold it a little closer to your heart.
Anne: I take everything really personally so I have to be really careful with that. It’s easier for us. We just try to blend it in for the rest of the day.
Richard: Anne, I can tell you. We have some phenomenal people we work with who sell on Abe’s Market. We’ve got a woman from Schoolhouse Kitchen who used to be a private detective. We’ve got folks who…
Richard: Yesterday we had Ruth who used to be carpenter. That’s a pretty natural transition. Opera and horses – I think that’s the first time we’ve had someone with a background in opera and horses. We had people have a background in opera?
Richard: I’m just kidding, not even opera.
Anne: I get that a lot. People are like, “Do you ride around and sing on your horse?” But no, I went to school …
Ryan: She has an amazing voice.
Lisa: Can we hear a little bit? Can you give us a little preview?
Anne: Oh, God. Maybe not right now. Perhaps some other time I’ll have an aria. I did musical theater and all that in high school, and then in college I studied voice performance for a couple of years. But I always had horses, so I was just so unfocused in school. It’s really embarrassing to say. I wanted to do so many different things. I’ve been a vet tech for several years, and I just jump around a lot. We never lived in a town where we had an actual opera house. We kind of followed Ryan around and did more like the surf industry, which those two don’t go hand in hand. Basically, now I’m just kind of into the musical theater in town and that sort of thing. I still have my horses, but we sort of do this instead. One day I may open a boarding stable, but you just never know.
Richard: I like it. We thank you for offering 20 percent off all your bags right now while “Abe’s Live” is going on. It’s very kind of you. As you said, you’ve got a selection of different bags. I’m holding one that’s more of a – Lisa, how would you describe this?
Lisa: This is more of a shopping bag or just a tote or purse. You just throw things in it – road trips, or going out hiking or walking. It’s a great bag. It’s not a backpack.
Richard: Right, so you’ve got a great range of products. You’ve got 20 percent off, made with old bottles. Everything here seems to be pretty well thought out. You’ve got some pretty fun, cute imagery on the bags. Really excited for you and the brand. Thank you so much for spending time with us today on “Abe’s Live.” I’m seeing on Facebook that the crowd is loving you.
Anne: I was really nervous today. We never did anything like this, so it’s good.
Ryan: Thank you so much for having us. We’ve been watching your other ones, and we’re pleased to be on your show. So thanks very much, and continue.
Richard: Thank you. Have a great day. We’ll catch you soon.