Being an avid mountain biker, there were always piles of old inner tubes in Shannon Hames’ basement. During a creative moment in 2000, Hames cut up one of the many inner tubes and an old pair of rain pants to sew the first Flat Bag. Compliments over the bag were overwhelming. So production began – and it continues to flourish today.
Eventually used bike inner tubes had to be tracked down in Vancouver as demand for the bags grew. Bike stores were happy to have the tube recycled. Five bike stores in one year can accumulate over 5000 inner tubes a year. Vinyl fabrics were sourced with an emphasis on vintage and unwanted roll ends. These vinyls were deemed “rediscovered” in order to keep with the theme of recycling. The only colour of bag that Hames will not make is black. Asked why, she will respond with a wrinkled nose, “’Cause that would be extremely boring!”
Flat Bags production has been located in many spaces over the years….a corner of a bedroom, back porches, crooked garages, remote shacks on various properties, basements. She then graduated to the beautiful sunlit space in the Nelson brewery building and then again back to the comforts of her own Nelson residence. Today the Flat Bags studio is now located in the Burns Building on Baker Street.
Flat Bags have seen a consistent growth since the beginning. Hames marketed her bags from Vancouver to Toronto, Edmonton to Seattle and down into Santa Cruz. International recognition was instigated by a feature in the New York Times. Martha Stewart, the Grammy Award Foundation and Hollywood producers have all sited the bags as the styliest “green” bags around.