Steve Bauerfeind and Paul Kradin are two entrepreneurs putting the earth first, and we’re big fans of the Los Angeles-based couple’s work here at Mr Feelgood HQ . They have previously made their mark with CO2Cycle, launched four years ago to reduce plastic waste on photo shoots, and Jybe, an app to help us make sustainable takeout packaging choices, which we covered earlier this year.
Now they have launched their next green venture, the Aerrem tote bag, intended to ensure we never leave home without our reusable water and coffee cups. And to design the bag they enlisted the help of two fashion legends who we also respect hugely, former GQ creative director Jim Moore and George Esquivel, the designer who rose from homelessness to become a shoemaker to the stars.
Aerrem is another example of Steve and Paul putting their creativity, environmental awareness and entrepreneurial spirit to good use, creating a solution for a problem they encountered as they tried to lead conscientious, sustainable lives.
“Working on these other projects, we were growing much more aware of the role plastic plays in our lives,” Steve explains. “Then we were at lunch one afternoon, and I wanted an iced tea. The girl said, ‘You can only get it in a plastic cup with a plastic straw and a plastic lid.’ This was even though we were eating in the restaurant.
“So I didn’t get my iced tea because I was pissed off. And we thought that if we had our own reusables with us, we could have offered to put it in reusable and not wasted another plastic cup and straw. So that’s where we had this idea for a tote bag that could carry with you everywhere, so you never are without your reusable vessels.
“We called Jim and told him about the idea, and he thought it was a cool concept and something new. He has been like the godfather to us throughout the whole process. And George Esquivel makes Jim’s favorite tote bag so he introduced us to him, and he was super enthusiastic and generous and we engaged George to design the bag.”
The bag features a sleek canvas exterior and a removable, washable, tactical nylon lining, which features two spaces specifically for holding cups or bottles upright, and then extra pockets for essentials like phone, keys and wallet. Both are available in a selection of colors to mix and match and create our own style, with each purchase coming with one shell and two liners.
“We were thinking about this as a very purpose driven product,” Paul says. “We want people to look at it and think, ‘Even though I have other tote bags, I don’t have anything like this.’
“We made enough room for these two bottles, your wallet, your phone and your keys to fit. It’s designed so even if one hand is busy, the other hand can reach in and retrieve what you need, and for you to know exactly where they are. But we didn’t make it big enough for people to put their laptop, sweatshirt and whatever else in there too, because before long, it’s a standard tote bag and then the psychology around it becomes different.
“The through line between these different ventures that Steve and I have started is we’re trying to change people’s simple behaviors, to bring about a really positive difference.”
Go to aerrem.io and use the code mrfeelgood15 for 15% off.