An interview with María Rodríguez - Founder of Kind Bag

An interview with María Rodríguez - Founder of Kind Bag

What's the story behind your business?

The creation and founding of Kind Bag was the culmination of witnessing an overwhelming amount of plastic waste, on a trip around Asia, (a trip which I hold very dear to my heart). This, coupled with the fact that I had reached a point in my career where I had the know-how and resources to launch a small business, meant that I could create Kind Bag, and help tackle plastic pollution, as well as help consumers phase single-use plastic bags out of their lives!

On my trip around Asia, I saw sights of astounding beauty, but I was also faced with the realities of the plastic pollution problem our planet, and more specifically our oceans, is facing. In amongst all the beautiful scenery, my eyes were met with piles of plastic waste, and I just knew something had to be done! This trip, coupled with the fact that at the time I’d been working with my partner, James, as he was launching a start-up food business, meant that I had the insight into how a small business could be launched, and that my ideas of Kind Bag could be realised.

So, I pooled all my savings and resources and launched Kind Bag in 2019!

Tell me about your products?

Kind Bag is on a mission to ‘be kind to the planet,’ turning plastic waste into beautifully designed multi-use, reusable bags. Kind Bags are 100% made from recycled plastic, and 100% recyclable, taking plastic waste that would’ve been headed to landfill or ended up polluting our oceans, and giving it a new use!

Our current range includes reusable mesh produce bags, shopper bags in 3 different sizes, and a variety of designs, but is set to expand into new and exciting collection coming soon…  watch this space!

What has lockdown/the last year meant for you and your business?

2020 and the beginnings of 2021, as the UK was still in lockdown, were a tough time for us and for all small businesses. Last year, with the understandable turbulence caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, meant a halt in production and some changes to our supply chain. However, we’ve got a strong team, some great stockists and distributors who’ve continued to support us and we made it through the harsher of the lockdowns with all the resources remaining in order to continue our mission of tackling plastic pollution!

What do you hope to gain from Indebox?

Indebox is a fantastic concept! The main thing Kind Bag hopes to gain from our involvement in your boxes, and in your Shoreditch box, is to get our eco-friendly products out there and let more people know that there are more alternatives to single-use plastic bags than just cotton tote bags!

On a personal level, I love Indebox, as it’s a great way to discover new, local brands and try products I may not have thought to before!

Why is it important for you and your business to support other independent businesses?

Being a small, independent business ourselves, we know how difficult getting your name and products out there to a wider audience, can be. It can be difficult and demanding, on a personal level, to believe that your products will find an audience, will connect with people and will do good in people’s lives.

But whether you’re creating a product with the purpose of purely providing a bit of peace and tranquillity, during these trying times, or like us, have a wider mission, to help tackle plastic pollution, there’s always going to be someone out there that connects with your products, as smaller businesses we just need a hand getting the word out there!

What do you love about East London?

East London is vibrant, with an enduring sense of community and a persevering soul that has seen it through a year of lockdowns to emerge with a smile on its face still. East London feels separate from Greater London, like it’s a village of connecting areas that just all feel like home.

It’s diverse, and strong and has been my home for many years now. There’s so many great things coming out of this part of London at the moment and I’m excited on a personal and professional level, to see how this great area develops in the future.

What does the future look like?

Kind Bag’s going global! We want to take our mission all over the globe, because plastic pollution is a problem affecting us all! We’re planning on broadening our collection, to include different types of product – still 100% made from recycled plastic!

Every day, we receive messages or reviews from people whose lives have been made a little more eco-friendly by a Kind Bag, whether they bought the bag for themselves or were bought it by a friend. This spurs us on to keep wanting to reach more people, who wouldn’t have otherwise tried our products, in the hopes that it stops them from reaching for the conveniently placed, but highly polluting single-use plastic bags in supermarkets!