During the summer of 2003 in Seattle, WA, product engineer and bike commuter Eli Reich had his messenger bag stolen. Being an industrious sort (as well as an avid cyclist), he decided to make himself a replacement out of materials he had in abundance: used bicycle inner tubes.
With a sewing machine gifted to him by his mom, he crafted the perfect messenger bag: cool, urban, water-resistant, and totally indestructible. He wore it with pride, and told friends who admired it what it was made out of: used bike tubes and a reclaimed seatbelt as a strap.
Pretty soon, those inquiries from friends grew into requests for Eli to make them one too. He filled one request, than another. Pretty soon, word of mouth spread, and Eli was scrambling to fill orders on nights and weekends. Finally, in August of 2004, he quit his day job, cleaned out his basement and launched Alchemy Goods with the motto of “Turning useless into useful.” By end of 2006, Alchemy Goods had 3 employees and a workshop space, with a few bags in local Seattle boutiques as well as REI.
As soon as Alchemy Goods got into REI, however, it faced a problem: even though the company was collecting used tubes from every willing bike shop in Seattle, Ag was still running low on tubes. What to do? Eli tasked one of his three employees with calling bike repair shops across the US to see if they’d like to recycle used tubes with Alchemy Goods. By the end of the summer of 2007, hundreds of shops across the US were sending their used tubes to Ag and proudly telling their customers about our recycling program. Alchemy Goods now has 550 shops participating in its recycling program, ranging from local and independently-owned shops, to Trek Dealers and REI stores.
How Ag Products Are Made
Alchemy Goods creates products through a process called "upcycling" -- that is, using waste materials as the basis for a new consumer product. We start with a batch of discarded tubes from bike shops, either collected locally in Seattle or shipped to us from across the US. We sort, clean and cut the tubes to prepare them for sewing. Our seamstresses then create a fabric from the tubes, which then is laid out with a standard pattern to cut and sew from. Finishing touches like valve stem zipper pulls or seatbelt straps are then added before the bags are quality checked and put on our shelves for distribution. All Ag products are made in Seattle, WA and have a lifetime guarantee.
Where to Buy Ag Products
Alchemy Goods products can be found in on our website, at our factory store in Seattle, and in 300+ retail shops all over the world, with distributors in Asia, Central America, Europe and Canada. Ag products range from messenger bags to briefcases, backpacks to purses, wallets to belts and accessories. Ag customers tend to be urban, eco-conscious, educated consumers who think our concept is clever and resourceful. And the best part? Together with our recycling partners, retailers and customers, we’ve saved 425,000+ tubes from landfill since our recycling program began in 2006.
Ag Recycling Program
Since our inception in 2004, Alchemy Goods has garnered national attention for keeping over 425,000 tubes out of landfill. Our success depends on the ongoing participation of bike retailers (Trek and REI), bike shops (over 550 through the U.S.), cycling event organizers (AIDS Lifecycle Ride) and individuals all who supply us with a steady stream of used bicycle tubes – the key ingredient for most of our products. Ag welcomes individual cyclists and bike shops throughout the US to join our efforts to transform discarded bike inner tube into eco-friendly bags and accessories.
Custom products and private labeling
We custom manufacture unique upcycled products from used advertising banners and reclaimed inner tubes. We can manufacture from materials you provide, or private label items from our existing product line. Let us help with your next product, event or festival!