Rendo Bags :: Looking good, doing good
There is no need to get creative when trying to describe Rendo Bags backpacks, they speak for themselves: simple, trendy, functional, good looking. Oh yeah, did we mention they donate profits to local schools? Yeah, a good looking bag that does some good too. You won’t find a better combo anywhere in town.
Rendo Bags is a startup out of Salt Lake City that aims to outfit fashion forward, busy people such as yourself with a carry-all while donating to the local community as well. I sat down with Rendo’s CEO and founder Eugene Kim (or as he calls himself, Chief Monkey in Charge) to find out more.
UGLY MAGAZINE: So, first thing’s first: What is Rendo Bags?
Eugene Kim: Rendo Bags is a company I started with the intention of supporting local schools. The idea has been brewing from a long time, starting with recycling plastic bags as a way to give back. The idea morphed into messenger bags that are low impact and I found a manufacturer in Pakistan, sent them some ideas, got the ball rolling. From the get go the goal was to donate 15% of the profits to local schools. We actually just sent out our first donations last month.
UM: The idea was always charity first, bags and fashion second?
EK: Yeah, there are a lot of companies that donate to good causes around the globe, which is a good thing. But I wanted aim more locally with the idea that investment in education is a better method of problem solving than simply donating. This way, Rendo Bags can help solve tomorrow’s problems, not just today's. We aren’t just trying to support education, or just sell bags, but we are trying to invest in the future.
UM: So, tell us about the bags.
EK: It's a durable, lightly water resistant fabric bag with a buckle system. We tried to keep things simple, sustainable, durable. The hope is that they last a lifetime, but if something goes wrong with the bag, we are happy to replace them as well.
At the moment, there is one style of bag with 6 color schemes. There was also a run of custom bags attached to our IndieGoGo campaign which just shipped out. We are also currently working on a second design to have available for purchase, and should have some samples very soon.
UM: What does each bag cost?
EK: Currently, the bag is $80, but we are working on bringing those costs down with some discount codes and absorbing some costs to keep the prices low. Ideally we want to sell it for $60, with 15% of that profit going to local schools.
UM: And where can Ugly readers find the bags these days?
EK: Currently they are online at rendobags.com and we are also currently selling them at Loki Cycles in Salt Lake City. We are also working on finding more retailers for the bags, so keep an eye out.
UM: How does the donation process work?
EK: We use donorschoose.org to geolocate where you purchased the bag from and send the donation to schools in need near you. We think this is the best way for you to invest in your community, and hopefully show off our bags while doing it. The focus is on schools that are in dire need of basic educational supplies and tools.
UM: And how long has Rendo Bags been in operation?
EK: We started in March of 2014 by getting registered, but the operation has been in the works since winter 2013. And the first bags just arrived this week!
UM: Where do you see Rendo going from here?
EK: The next step is community outreach and raising awareness. So we are trying to plan some social media stuff including a Rendo sponsored bike race and social media scavenger hunt.
If you are looking for a comfy, organized, stylish bag that is large enough to keep up with your busy schedule, look no further than Rendo Bags. And keep an eye out for more designs in the future. Stay Ugly out there.
Written by Robert Grange @robertgrange
Culture Editor, Ugly Magazine
Photos courtesy of Rendo Bags, LLC