If we love one thing here at Lost At E Minor, it’s innovative ideas. And there’s nothing more innovative than what California company RAREFORM is doing.
Instead of seeing 12′ x 48′ billboard materials go to waste, the RAREFORM team is giving it a new purpose by turning huge banners into backpacks, wallets, iPhone cases and even tees! This means that while you get a one-of-a-kind piece, the environment is being cared for.
We spoke to Kara Morin from Rareform to find out more on the brand and what goes into making products out of discarded billboards.
Can you briefly tell us about the story behind RAREFORM?
‘Absolutely. RAREFORM was founded in 2012 by current CEO, Alec Avedissian. After becoming disillusioned with the investment banking industry, he set out on a surf trip through South America. When in El Salvador, he noticed locals using vinyl from billboards for roofing and other basic needs because it is a durable, weatherproof substance. He discovered he could make a surfboard bag using the same concept. He teamed up with his brother, Aric, and founded RAREFORM, believing a company could create a unique, durable, one-of-a-kind product which also helps out the environment by intercepting billboards before they get to landfills.
‘Today, we have expanded into selling a wide variety of bags and accessories, and also give back to the environment through the campaign 1 per cent for the planet’.
Where do you source the billboard materials from? And what’s the process like behind that?
‘We partner with a few outdoor advertisers, namely Lamar Advertising out of Baton Rouge, who partner with us to minimise their footprint and do good for the environment as well.
‘When the vinyl from a billboard ad comes out of rotation, it is shipped to us. We hand-cut every billboard in our office, trying to use as much of the vinyl as possible, while still creating cool designs. The typical yield from any single billboard is around six to eight surfboard bags or 100 backpacks if all the vinyl is usable. We then send the cut billboard pieces to our manufacturers, most of which are right here in California’.
We love the RAREFORM designs! Who is behind them?
‘Thanks! We have a team of designers that help us come up with each new product design, but honestly, what makes each product so awesome is that the billboard vinyl used for every one is unique. We love that our customers can choose the exact bag to match their individual style. The possibilities for designs on our bags are endless’.
We know RAREFORM creates backpacks out of billboards, but what other products are on offer?
‘We started creating surfboard bags, but have expanded to include other surf and snow bags, as well as backpacks, duffels, totes, and more recently some smaller accessories such as laptop sleeves and wallets. I am really excited about our newest product, which is an iPhone case! We’ve been dreaming this one up for a while’.