Behind our new Upcycled Tote & Its Sustainability

July 19, 2023

Behind our new Upcycled Tote & Its Sustainability

It’s not every day we get to interview a member from our own team to share the “why” behind a Thousand product. We were so excited to get to chat to Product Developer Eric Vo on our new Upcycled Tote.

Eric has been with Thousand for nearly two years, and his main role is to find new product opportunities in our market that meet business needs. This includes managing everything within research phases, a blueprint for success, and product commercialization.

Our team is always looking for ways to positively impact riders’ lives—and the environment. Learn more about the vision and creation behind our upcycled tote with this exclusive interview!

How did the Tote come about? What led to the switch from cotton to bamboo? 

One of our goals for the switch was to find ways to make the helmet bag more sustainable and environmentally friendly. With the switch to bamboo helmet bags, we were left with a surplus of cotton materials from the original bag. The last thing we wanted to do was dispose of them and have it end up in a landfill. We reviewed our options and scenarios, and we ultimately decided the best way to move through the surplus of materials was to repurpose them into something more. That is how the idea to make a repurposed tote bag was presented. 

One of our brand values is "Made with the future in mind." In what ways is bamboo more sustainable than cotton? 

Based on the research that was led by our Sr. Product Developer, we learned many environmental benefits of using bamboo fiber in our bags. To list a few, they generally require less water and pesticides to grow, bamboo tends to be less energy intensive when processing, and we opted for unbleached bamboo bags to minimize the negative effects. Additionally, bamboo tends to be a bit more breathable than cotton, which is more beneficial when storing your helmet in the bag. It will produce less odor.    

What were some challenges in creating this tote bag? 

We explored many bag designs for repurposing, but one challenge was the limitations on size because the materials were already precut from the factory. Additionally, we wanted to ensure that all the materials were used efficiently and put back into the new design. We did not want any of it to go to waste. After many prototypes and reviewing the exact quantities left over, we were able to develop a tote bag that presented the best use case and the least amount of waste after cutting and sewing.    

Production samples of the old helmet bags and various attempts at the new tote style

How did you decide what to make out of the deadstock material?    

Rather than making more helmet bags and offering them aftermarket, we were exploring ways to transform that material into something that could be more versatile and used throughout a daily routine. While the helmet bag is great for carrying your helmet or single items, we wanted something that could be used for larger and heavier items such as groceries, beach accessories, clothing, etc. We determined that transforming it into a tote bag would give the customer the most useful options.

Without giving anything away, what other projects are you working on right now?

As you may know, we have gloves, lights, bells, and other accessories available to shop. We’re always exploring new categories beyond helmets and solutions for the urban traveler. Keep an eye out for us expanding into new categories in the future.

What are five things we'd find in your upcycled tote?

I would start with my dog’s accessories. This is a perfect replacement bag to carry all his items when I’m out. Next would be my bike gear because I’ll be able to pack my helmet, shoes, and gloves all together. Then power tools because it always seems like I’m asked to fix something. I’d also have my beach gear because I’m close to the coast. Finally, my Xbox because you never know where you will end up playing video games with friends.

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