The story of the Weekender Bag is a story of friendship, creativity, and collaboration. Ideas for new products come from many places – sometimes you, our customers, suggest things you would like to see Re:new carry in our store. Volunteers and staff come up with ideas. And sometimes our Artisans will bring a design that they have created at home. The Weekender Bag is a combination of all of these ideas!
One day, one of our customers suggested they wished we carried an overnight bag. We talked about it in staff meeting, and one of our store volunteers, Sandy Gum, brought in a duffel type bag as an idea. Holly Setran, our sewing manager, took that bag and used it as the inspiration for the pattern for the Weekender.
To help polish up the prototype and speak into the production process, we chose an Artisan who would become the “expert” on making the bag, assisting with design and finalizing the prototype. Gyulnara was chosen, and she was excited! Shortly after Gyulnara reviewed the pattern and first prototype with Holly, she suggested some design changes and additions. Together Holly and Gyulnara worked through several prototypes, each time Gyulnara “tweaking” an aspect of the bag until it became the bag we sell today!
After finalizing the design, Gyulnara then became the “expert” on the bag, teaching the other Artisans how to cut and sew it, answering any questions they had in the sewing process. And even though we call it “the Weekender," in the sewing Studio, it is referred to as “Gyulnara’s bag." She loves sewing them and each day checks the store to see which ones have sold!
Gyulnara is Turkish and was a refugee in Russia for many years, where, because of her ethnicity, she was not allowed to own or carry any official papers. Life was very challenging as she and her family were granted very limited freedom. Gyulnara is an amazing woman, who speaks 9 languages (no, that is not a typo!) and is a trained midwife, delivering countless babies over 25 years. Gyulnara came to the U.S. in 2005 with her husband and children.
Gyulnara loves creating at Re:new and also enjoys sewing for her family at home. When you buy the Weekender Bag, you “carry the story” of Gyulnara, helping to provide a place for her to grow and thrive in creativity, job skills, and in relationships. So thank you!
If you are interested in purchasing a Weekender Bag, please click HERE to see our online collection!