From Tattered Sails to Environmentally Friendly Products, with a Stylish Appeal
Founded in 2004, Red Flag Design was born of a desire to create products that offered more than just function or style. Barnaby Killam got the idea to become a unique bag manufacturer while working as a sail maker five years ago. Barnaby, along with his business partner Stuart Sproule, decided that the discarded storm-weathered and wind-battered nautical sails would not only be a perfect source of material for durable, stylish bags, but cost-effective as well for two aspiring entrepreneurs. Thus, Red Flag Design was born.
Today, Red Flag Design manufactures a variety of items including duffle bags, tote bags, wallets, shaving kits, baskets and shopping bags. All the work is done at [RedFlag's] Vancouver studio and is made from recycled materials, which appeal to environmentally conscious buyers. The bags, which range in price from $30 to $275, appeal to a cross-section of people.
"It's important to make our products available to our contemporaries. We've had to pursue a high-end market to be economically feasible, but we don't want to be completely exclusive."
In Vancouver, the bags can be bought either online, at the Red Flag Design studio at 318 Industrial Ave. or at retailers Hunt and Gather, Eugene Choo and Inform Interiors. In Victoria, the bags can be bought at Not Just Pretty.
Barnaby does have advice for anybody interested in starting up their own business: "Anybody starting up should make sure they're offering something that's not just a repackaging of an existing concept. They should find a niche. If they can do that, they can make it work." Barnaby received help creating a business plan through BCIT’s Entrepreneurial Skills Training Program (BEST), operated by the BCIT Venture Development Centre. Barnaby successfully completed the program in 2005. Among other things, Killam and his partner Sproule won a B.C. Creative Achievement Award for industrial design.