Socially conscious consumers care about the companies they choose as well as the products they buy. Consumers want to know how companies treat their employees, whether they exploit child labor, and whether they mindfully consume natural resources. These factors can affect whether a customer makes a purchase or shuns the brand permanently – regardless of the product’s quality, value, or usefulness. These folks want more than good products. They want good companies. Vaho satisfies both.

Vaho transforms vinyl signs into purses, small luggage, and backpacks. It produces bags that are more than colorful and durable; they are one-of-a-kind. Vaho acquires banners that municipalities and companies hung for events. After the banners have served their purpose, Vaho hand-cuts each and stitches the pieces into distinctive products. They call the result trashion: fashion reincarnated from trash.

Obstacles block competitors

Weather and wear affect each banner differently and signs often contain trademarked and proprietary images. Vaho must process each by hand to avoid images and damaged areas. This ensures that every bag is unique and cannot be mass-produced. 

There is no open market for used banners: no store that supplies them or manufacturers to call. Sellers have no idea what to charge. Buyers typically influence when materials arrive and what quantity that is provided but this does not occur with used items. Banners are not sold to Vaho until they are damaged or outlive their usefulness. Prices vary because there is no baseline for comparison and there is no predictable timeline.

Vaho navigates each issue to acquire the banners, incorporate them into products, and sell them at consistent and profitable prices. The company builds products from raw materials that may not be readily available, may vary in price, may comprise legal entanglements, and may be damaged to different degrees.

More than upcycled

Upcycled products are not always the most attractive; they can look unprofessional or dowdy but not Vaho’s. Vaho creates totes that don’t just appeal to socially conscious customers but ones who value distinction and durability as well. Anyone who selected the wrong black rolling bag from the airport carousel realizes that luggage’s value is more than cosmetic. Distinction ensures other travelers will not mistake your bag or you will not mistake theirs. While others mark their cases with ribbons or colorful nametags, Vaho bags are one-of-a-kind and vibrant. They are almost impossible to mistake. 

Vinyl, in addition to retaining color and images for years, is an extremely durable fabric. It resists tears better than most comparable fabrics and is preferred on boats because it survives salt water, wind and sun. 

A niche with a barrier

At first glance, Vaho is a socially conscious brand that repurposes goods headed to landfills. Upon deeper inspection, it creates unique products that serve a well-defined community, it provides value in multiple ways, it redefines views of upcycled products, and it establishes barriers that limit copycats. Transforming trash into something attractive requires a keen sense of creativity. However, the company’s most creative accomplishments may not be the way it manufactures bags but the way it manages the business. Vaho’s strategy is one worth copying even if their bags cannot be.