We’d like to thank Brandon Cantrell, General Manager and Elana Todt, Product Marketing Manager of Bristol Custom Solutions for their contributions to the CNNMoney Article published yesterday.
Bristol Custom Solutions is one of our Advertisers on MacRAE’S, receiving hundreds of clickthrough leads to their company website each month. Julie Zizka, inventor of the Tote Buddy found Bristol Custom Solutions online and is hoping to produce her next run of Tote Buddys with Bristol Custom Solutions rather than the manufacturer in China.
Julie Zizka invented of The Tote Buddy, a reusable bag organizer, in 2008. She was determined to use reusable bags when she grocery shopped, but found that she often forgot them in the car or at home. And, she noticed that lots of other shoppers had the same problem.
She had the idea for a reusable bag organizer, hand sewed her first ‘test’ version, and it worked! No more forgotten bags. She found a reusable bag supplier in CA who agreed to have The Tote Buddy made for her in China. She placed her first order for 5,000 pieces and opened up ‘shop’ online in the Fall of 2008. With a small start-up marketing budget, Zizka uses social media to spread The Tote Buddy word. She also offers The Tote Buddy for sale at local church, school, and industry events.
The Tote Buddy is a new product in a fairly new industry. Sales have been slow, but steady, and Zizka is now seeing sales pick up with cities and states across the country enacting single-use plastic bag bans and ‘taxes’.
Zizka is also finding that customers are asking more and more often, “Where is The Tote Buddy made?” They really love the idea of buying a product made in the United States. In truth, Zizka had always liked the idea of making The Tote Buddy in the U.S., but had trouble finding an affordable option. She was determined to place her next order with a U.S. manufacturer, and was thrilled to find Bristol Custom Solutions, a division of Bristol Bag.
‘Made in the U.S. A.’ is more than a sought after label in the hopes of increasing sales, for Zizka. It goes much deeper than that. The very reason for The Tote Buddy was so that Zizka could do her part to help the environment. She hated throwing away 6 to 8 single-use plastic bags every time she grocery shopped. And, she really wanted to spread the ‘reusable grocery bag’ message. Using a U.S. manufacturer would go a long way in reducing the carbon footprint of The Tote Buddy. No more ‘slow boat from China’ would be ideal!