Bags From Train Seats Put PUP in National Marketplace

Posted: Updated:
INDIANAPOLIS -

An Indianapolis-based nonprofit that creates wallets, handbags and backpacks from reclaimed materials is launching a nationally-focused line of products for the first time. People for Urban Progress, which sells hand-made items from materials including the fabric from the old Hoosier Dome and signage from when Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl, is repurposing leather from the seats in Amtrak's Boston to Washington D.C. Acela Express trains. The new line includes the Agent Backpack, Passenger Tote and Dispatch Dopp Kit.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, PUP Executive Director Andrea Cowley said the partnership with Amtrak opens the door to a wider market. "The audience before has always been super hyper-local to Indianapolis," she said, "and now we're going to have customers from all over the country." The leather being used by PUP comes from a revamp effort by the passenger rail provider that includes replacing more than 6,000 leather seats on the Acela line. PUP says the will create the three bags and some additional items until the leather runs out.

"One of the things that we noticed as we're working with this leather is that there is two different types of leather: there's business class and then there's first-class leather, which is actually a heavier weight and a different color," Cowley said. "We've been prototyping a larger bag that you can take for like a weekend trip, so we're going to probably call it The Weekender and it's going to be made out of nicer leather, so it's going to be a higher price point, but it's also going to be a more premium product."

Cowley says the organization has spent "an incredible amount of time and money" developing prototypes of the leather bags and developing a production process to handle the new line over the next year. The partnership with Amtrak, which involves the transit company's donation of the leather, will result in a some growth for PUP, Cowley says. A handful of part-time jobs to clean, cut and stitch the new wares will be added to meet demand. "What really looks to be the future of PUP is that we're going to be generating jobs in our neighborhood for people who are local makers," Cowley added. She says the organization's urban re-use mission should be duplicated in all cities.

You can connect to more about PUP's new line of bags using Amtrak seat leather by clicking here.

  • Perspectives

    • Indiana's Regrettable Struggle to Pass Hate Crime Legislation

      It shouldn’t be this hard. The Senate’s Public Policy Committee voted 9-1 in favor of SB-12 this week, a bill that would have codified (as written) hate crime bias to include protections for race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, and age. SB-12 then made its way to the full Senate. Preceded by a lengthy deliberation by the Senate’s Republican caucus, the Senate voted 33-16 in favor of a watered-down...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Chamber Unveils 'Best Places to Work'

      The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released its list of the Best Places to Work in Indiana. This year's list features 125 companies throughout the state, including more than 40 that were not on the list last year. The chamber will unveil company rankings April 30 at an awards dinner at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Winners are sorted into four categories based on size. Out-of-state parent companies must have at least 15 full-time employees in Indiana to...

    • Public, Private Investment Driving Speedway Growth

      Speedway leaders say the town is full speed ahead with millions of dollars in public and private projects that will help change the landscape of the Marion County community. At the heart of them all, says Town Manager Jacob Blasdel, is the new Town Hall in an old PNC Bank building that will house all of Speedway's town offices. Also in the works are a recently-announced $8 million mixed-use proposal on Main Street from Rebar Development, the soon-to-open $36 million Wilshaw...

    • Indiana Rural School Clinic Network Expands to Pekin

      East Washington School Corp. has announced that East Washington Elementary School is now a participant in the Indiana Rural School Clinic Network. Supported by Ascension/St. Vincent Salem, the school now has a telehealth clinic available to its students and staff. 

    • The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

      Soccer Stadium Funding Added to CIB Bill

      The Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a bill that includes funding for a new soccer stadium in Indianapolis, however the stadium may not necessarily become home to the Indy Eleven. Our partners at WIBC report the bill authorizes financing for a stadium to host a Major League Soccer team; the Indy Eleven play in the United Soccer League. The bill also fund the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and two hotels in downtown Indy, as well as extend the...

    • Kite FFO Dips, Plans to Sell Off Properties

      Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust (NYSE: KRG) is reporting full-year Funds from Operations of $167 million in 2018, down from $171 million the previous year. The company has also announced plans to offload up to $500 million in assets in an effort to reduce its debt.