Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 1:06 am | Overcast 65º



Entrepreneur Veronica Aguirre-Kolb Turns Billboards Into Fashionable Tote Bags

The owner of dazzleVdesigns is looking to local retailers to carry her creations, made of upcycled material

A local entrepreneur has found a second, more eco-friendly use for the constantly changing poster billboards that can be seen along the freeway. They also make fashionable tote bags.

Veronica Aguirre-Kolb, owner of dazzleVdesigns, said she has been sending samples of her bags to Santa Barbara-area businesses in the hopes that others take notice of upcycling, a type of recycling that finds alternative uses for materials already deemed as waste.

The 32-year-old Santa Barbara native said the tote bags are perfect for carrying groceries, a possible substitute for the plastic-based reusable bags being sold at other stores.

As a full-time senior yoga instructor at Bikram Yoga Santa Barbara, Aguirre-Kolb also has come up with what she calls “grodi” bags, which are designed with an anti-mildew interior to tote around sweaty — and often smelly — workout clothes.

Aguirre-Kolb said living so close to the Pacific Ocean has helped her focus on the goal of keeping the water from becoming the world’s next landfill.

“I’m trying to encourage shops in town,” Aguirre-Kolb told Noozhawk. “Upcycling makes it so we’re already using trash. We can’t totally eliminate plastic. I just want people to know about the upcycling.”

Aguirre-Kolb founded dazzleVdesigns five years ago as a freelance floral designer and decided to add the eco-friendly, bag-making component 2½ years later.

She spent a year researching to find the best material, which she buys online from a Philadelphia-based company and then takes to Mama Bears in Goleta so local seamstresses can clean and then measure and cut the billboards into bags.

Bags Aguirre-Kolb showed Noozhawk recently were made from a Budweiser billboard and one advertising Menards, a Midwest-based hardware supply store.

Aguirre-Kolb said some surfboard companies use the same upcycled material to hold dingy, heavy wetsuits.

She has been working with her alma mater, Bishop Garcia Diego High School, to help promote and use the tote bags, which cost $15 and are available to purchase online. The grodi bags, which are $25, have been selling out more quickly.

Aguirre-Kolb said businesses have the option of swapping out her dazzleVdesigns logo for their own.

She hopes to eventually turn a profit, but mostly she said she’s making the upcycling push because someone should.

“This is the smallest thing I can do, but it’s something,” Aguirre-Kolb said. “I’m doing my best for the ocean.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Cimme Eordanidis
Cimme Eordanidis
"Since I truly enjoy doing what I do, interacting with people and representing them during one of life's most exciting events is very rewarding."

Full Profile >