Sometimes tragedy can lead to greatness, and that’s the story behind Alchemy Goods, an accessories company based in Seattle.
Alchemy’s mastermind is Eli Reich, a resourceful fella known for rooting around his garage for scraps of this-and-that to fix what’s broken or build what needs creating. So when Eli’s bike bag was stolen and he needed a new one, Eli immediately grabbed his growing pile of discarded bike tubes – a material he was sure he could somehow turn into a bike bag.
Many years later, Alchemy is a flourishing company that uses bike tubes as the basis for their line of accessories – including fashionable day bags, iPad and laptop sleeves, wallets, belts, messenger bags and more. While many companies attempt a few tube-based products here and there, what really makes Alchemy stand out is their attention to detail and understanding of how to work with the rubber of bike tubes. Their seams are solid and the material, which is inclined to buckle, lays flat. They also add in creative touches like a valve stem as a zipper pull and use a durable piping on the edges that holds up well over time.
SAVE THE BIKE TUBES!
Millions of bike tubes are thrown into landfills every year, and to date Alchemy has reclaimed more than 400,000 tubes. Buying an Alchemy bag helps divert tubes from the waste stream and of course they’re a bold way to showcase your love of bikes. But there are plenty of other reasons to use an Alchemy bag; the rubber of bike tubes is extremely flexible, durable and waterproof. It acts and looks a lot like leather.
Alchemy has strong relationship with REI and Trek who regularly ship huge heavy boxes of bike tubes to the Alchemy headquarters. But the accessories are in high demand and materials run out quickly so Alchemy also has a network of Seattle-based bike shops they visit on a regular basis to collect tubes, and they are working on getting additional large companies on board. The good news, they say, is that all of the big bike industry companies they’ve had talks with are extremely supportive of what they’re doing.
BACK TO BIKE BASICS
Alchemy Bags have mostly been sold in apparel stores, gift shops and college book stores, but now they’re going back to their roots and designing a new series of products made to work with bikes, like saddle bags and tool rolls.
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