Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific Recycles
Downtown Banner Art into Unique Gift Shop Accessories
UpCycle it Now fashions blend textile arts with sustainability mission
The fashionable tote bags, wallets, laptop bags and purses are all crafted from the Aquarium’s exhibit banners that previously hung from light posts on 2nd Street, Pine Avenue, Shoreline Boulevard and Ocean Boulevard.
“The banners are really expensive, so we started storing them in our warehouse in hopes that we could make use of them someday,” said Jonathan Clough, Membership Manager at Aquarium of the Pacific. “
That hope became a reality when Clough met up with Liz Bordessa, Founder and Christina Johnson, Creative Director at UpCycle it Now.
“We always wanted to turn the banners into products, but we had trouble finding the right designer and manufacturer,” explained Clough. “Some of the first vendors I talked to only dealt with large quantity orders. Or their products were manufactured overseas which would cause a larger carbon foot print, and it didn’t fit with our quantity or budget considerations. Then we met Christina.”
UpCycle it Now takes art materials that are destined for landfills and adds value by turning them into unique fashion objects. “Nothing is wasted, and the excitement from the original event or exhibit lives on,” said UpCycle it Now’s Johnson.
The nonprofit Aquarium’sproducts, for example,help raise funds and awareness for their educational exhibits and attractions.
As part of the creative process, the Aquarium collaborates with UpCycle it Now to design the items. “There was a lot of back and forth,” said Clough. “We tested and tweaked the samples to make sure they’ll do well in our gift shop.”
“The whole concept is completely in line with our mission at the aquarium – to help protect and conserve habitat and the environment,” said Clough. “It’s the right thing to do. We used to recycle or give away the banners and now it is great to give them a second life as an eco-friendly product.”
UpCycle it Now products are hand-crafted by skilled laborers from the local community. “We’re a family business, so we’re very passionate about employing, training and supporting our staff,” said Bordessa. The production team includes an on-site staff plus stay-at-home parents who work from design kits that are sent home.
Clough has been recommending UpCycle it Now to other organizations in the area. “Everyone that uses banners should get involved with this type of program,” he said.
All UpCycle it Now designs are custom cut and stitched to maximize the best graphic design from each banner they come from.
MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Johnson – firstname.lastname@example.org – (562) 882-1825