Vernon’s Edie Jorgenson has been busy turning unsold T-shirts at the Kindale Thrift Store into shoulder bags. She launched her Bags by Edie business despite the challenges of COVID-19, with help from WorkBC employment advisors. (Contributed)

Vernon entrepreneur gives second-hand tees a new purpose

Edie Jorgenson’s creative business turns unused T-shirts into eco-friendly shoulder bags

There’s more than one way to sport a T-shirt; just ask Vernon’s Edie Jorgenson.

The volunteer at the Kindale Vernon Thrift Shop sees plenty of shirts come through its doors. Not all of them can be resold, and so with her keen eye for fashion and entrepreneurial spirit, she launched a business that repurposes spare tees into eco-friendly shoulder bags.

Jorgenson started Bags by Edie just before the emergence of COVID-19 — as challenging a time as any to undertake a new business. But with the help she’s received from WorkBC Employment Advisors Celena Sandaker and Jerry Ward, her bags are now the buzz among the thrift store’s customers.

“Everyone asks about it,” Ward said of Jorgenson’s business that sold 50 bags after little over a month at the store on 31st Avenue.

Jorgenson chooses T-shirts provided by Kindale based on their designs before cutting the garments into shape and tying the bottoms in to make a sturdy, stylish receptacle.

READ MORE: Vernon company scores global award

“From the first time we practiced (making the bags) in our office, Edie was right in there doing everything,” Ward said. “She really took ownership of it.”

Jorgenson says she loves the process of transforming tees that may have been destined for the landfill into something new, while also providing an alternative to plastic.

“Before COVID, a lot of B.C. was going towards zero plastic,” Sandaker said. “That push towards it was a reason why we were looking at this opportunity, because it was Edie thinking ahead, and thinking about what’s going to be the new trend.”

For Sandaker and Ward, it’s been inspiring to watch Jorgenson’s business — and her confidence — blossom.

“It’s given her a lot of confidence, and every time she comes into our office she just has a big smile,” Sandaker said. “That makes me feel amazing, that she’s so happy about this opportunity.”

WorkBC offers customized employment opportunities to help people overcome barriers and turn their strengths into success. Those looking for help finding a traditional job or customized work can contact WorkBC by phone, email or online chat, or visit a WorkBC Centre. Visit workbc.ca for more information.

READ MORE: Okanagan woman shocked by return of letter in a bottle, after 31 years


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

entrepreneur

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
EDITORIAL: The power of a single vote

In the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, every vote is important

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna RCMP investigating unexplained death of cattle

Cattle found dead near gravel road, east of the Kelowna Airport

From right to left: Silverado Socrates (Independent), Norm Letnick (Liberal), John Janmaat (Green) and Kyle Geronazzo (Libertarian). (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Kelowna-Lake Country candidates square off at forum

All candidates in the riding were in attendance except for BC NDP candidate Justin Kulik

Vernon Fire Rescue Services work to put out a structure fire in an abandoned house on Highway 97 and 39th Avenue Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
UPDATE: Vernon house fire under control

Single-lane traffic remains in effect on Highway 97 in both directions

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen is launching an initiative to provide horse-assisted therapy to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic (Black Press file photo)
Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen to provide horse-assisted therapy

Therapy sessions will be offered to frontline workers during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
‘This is a big outdoor space’: Grand Forks man behind backyard party to fight COVID tickets

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Paul Singla walks towards his Penticton home on Heather Road in 2018 after CBSA officers raided it. (File photo)
Singla and Toor make first court appearances on immigration fraud

The Okanagan men had their cases adjourned until 2021

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Most Read