LYNN (CBS) – The ocean-front city of Lynn is the ninth largest community in Massachusetts. It’s also the home of Lydia Pinkham, an entrepreneur who made a fortune selling a women’s health supplement.
Today, that same factory is buzzing with sewing machines. But the fabric zipping through those machines isn’t actually fabric at all; it’s recycled newspapers with a laminated coating. The end result – handbags.
“We love the idea of reusing something that’s already there, that’s beautiful and would just be going into a recycling bin,” explained Couture Planet co-owner Kathy Cormier.
Cormier and her partner, Michelle Kane, started off using the fashion images from newspaper ads to create their bags, but they quickly realized the newspapers offered the perfect fuel to feed Boston’s sports-obsessed fans.
“I think there are a lot of women fans and they don’t want to wear a man’s jersey,” Cormer told WBZ-TV.
Some of the big sellers include a small satchel with tortoise shell handles. One side is a photo of Rob Gronkowski in action during a game, the other side is a high-fashion photo of Tom Brady from a full page Tag Heuer watch ad. According to Kane, that image is a customer favorite.
“Whenever we go to a show and bring a Tom bag, people are just drawn to that face. They pick it up and the hold it and they hug it,” she said.
All of the bags are made in the Lynn studio where Michelle and Kathy carefully search through the local papers every morning. “I wake up every morning at 5:30. I’ve always been a newspaper junkie,” Kathy said. “I just look at them a little differently now.”
Patriots bags are big sellers right now and customers were looking for Red Sox bags after their World Series win, but there are also bags featuring iconic fashion images, as well as food, travel and cultural themes. Images come from local papers as well as the New York Times and other national publications.
Kathy and Michelle will even make a custom bag if you have a newspaper clipping that is special to you.
Prices range from $38 for a small wristlet to $90 for the largest bag.