Burlap Born Again

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PHOTO 2 - IMG_0780New local boutiques, businesses and brands you may not know — but should.

Teresa Rogers loves coffee.

She also has a lot of respect for the Earth and all it provides, and feels it’s important to do her part (and help others) to give back and take care of the world.

Although the former electrologist had no training in design or sewing, the Royal Oak native and longtime Brighton resident dabbles in painting and photography, and has always harbored a passion for textiles.

“The richness of colors, the textures, along with the durability and ease of manipulation — you can twist it and fold it, layer it, whatever you want,” Rogers says. “It’s all very appealing to me.”

She also surrounds herself with creativity whenever possible. Case in point: Her husband, Mike, often reclaims barn wood, vintage hardware and other metal scraps and transforms them into bird feeders and houses under the name Deeder Lane Habitats; and her 13-year-old son, Dylan, says Rogers, “is an up-and-coming graffiti artist.”

In 2008, Rogers and a girlfriend were perusing a Ferndale street fair, where many of the vendors offered green and recycled pieces. It started her thinking.

Over a cup of coffee, of course, she noticed the graphic designs and brilliant colors emblazoned across green coffee-bean burlap bags.

“I loved the idea of using these bags to make other useful bags, and the concept of old into new,” she says. She also happens to prefer bags over purses (the more original, fun and functional, the better).

Rogers began to draw up ideas of styles, including other repurposed materials in her designs, and soon launched Burlap Boutique, offering her handcrafted, one-of-a-kind bags and pillows from recycled coffee-bean burlap (or jute) bags from local coffee roasters, including Mighty Good Coffee, Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. and Java Master.

Digging out her never-before-used sewing machine and asking her expert seamstress mom for some pointers, Rogers has remained involved in every aspect of her business, from hand-picking uniquely designed burlap sacks to hand appliqueing every vintage button, fabric flower and strap (all made from repurposed remnants). Inherently durable and rugged, Burlap Boutique’s bags are all-purpose — beach, baby, market and more. “There is a style and a size for everyone,” she says.

“They are eco-friendly but urban chic,” Rogers adds. “They have an earthy appeal, but are also sophisticated. And they are always fun!”

PHOTO 1 - IMG_0762Burlap Boutique bags range in price from $25-$148. In addition to local art fairs, Burlap Boutique bags and pillows are available at Found, Ann Arbor; Artisan’s Bench, Brighton; and Espresso Elevado, Plymouth. Look for upcoming holiday events at the Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center Holiday Shop, Leon & Lulu Artists’ Market, Clawson, and more.

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