Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I'm coining this new term because I feel that recycling and upcycling just do not define what I see here. Maybe I should add it to Wikipedia - what do ya think?
de•sign•cy•cle -verb 
1.The process of converting waste materials into new creative designed materials or products that rock!
de•sign•cy•cler -noun
1. The cool people who design, produce or purchase these products.
priorLIFE is one such example of a designcycler. Last year at this time I was visiting my in-laws on Lake Leelanau near Traverse City, Michigan and I found an unusual looking bag at The Painted Bird in Sutton's Bay. I immediately bought a huge 24"x 12" tote bag thinking it would be great to cram in all of our pool/beach stuff. It was so cool - lots of color, some typography that I couldn't quite make out, graphic of some sort. All together a very wicked design. What really made this bag unique was its story. In its prior life it was a banner at a festival. It told me so right on the label. 
Once I determined that this product was not only a great design piece but had an awesome story...I wanted another one. So with priorLIFE being based in Traverse City (gasp!) and me just being up there for the Fourth of July (double gasp!), I decided to pop in to see how they were made.  I contacted Jenn Ryan, their fabulous Brand Ambassador, to schedule a tour of the facility. Here's a little video they did to show you how they make them...
The companies that buy from Britten Banners send their used banners back to priorLIFE to make into bags for either their own marketing purposes or for priorLIFE to sell online and selected retailers. 
Jenn was nice enough (crazy more like it) to let us view their inventory. I certainly didn't walk away empty handed. It took all the ever-loving will power I had not to grab everything in sight. Oh and the choices! Different colors and typographies and graphics each one truly unique! Of course, my mother-in-law, an extremely talented pastel artist and designcycler herself, came along. (sidenote: check out her website here - shameless family plug.) Between the two of us we certainly did some damage. 

Check them out on their websitefacebook and twitter and if you purchase online before July 31, 2011 you'll get 15% off with this exclusive code: TOSOTC (The Other Side Of The Creek - duh). Now I do have to make a disclaimer that unless you visit one of their retailers either at The Painted Bird in Sutton's Bay or in Traverse City at Golden Shoes you'll not get to select exactly the color and design. Each priorLIFE™ product is truly unique with its colors being determined at random based on the banner from which it was created. But you can put in your preferences and they will do the best they can to accommodate. 

So go ahead, save the environment and at the same time look chic as you...designcycle. (haha - seriously, doesn't that deserve to be in Wikipedia?)


  1. Thanks for the website plug! You might mention that your multiple-talented husband designed it! Both of you are so talented. Must send some new paintings to Dan. A number of the current paintings have been sold. Love your blog and latest post. It was so much fun having you guys here for the week.