How re-used teabags can change lives!

How re-used teabags can change lives!

Original T-Bag Designs have invented and perfected the ‘art’ of painting on used teabags!  The bags are dried, split, ironed, and then each artist paints her/his specialized designs on these small pallets.  The various ‘paintings’ are then used to create beautiful products.  Creative, unique, and yet such a simple idea, Jill Hayes - who moved to the Cape from the UK in 1996 - started this business to engage the local women and help them to have employment, changing lives for the better.  Let us introduce you to two of them; Nomsa and Peggy.

Nomsa showing off her work!Nomsa started at Original T-Bag Designs in 2004.  At the time, she was living in a shack with three children, a leaky roof and no heat in the local township ImizamoYethu.  It was uncomfortable and not safe for her and her family.  She was cleaning Jill’s home for income when Jill asked her if she wanted to start painting teabags. She took on the challenge painting at home after her cleaning jobs and was paid R1.5 per bag (about $0.12) for every painted bag she brought into the T-Bag workshop.

After perfecting her painting ability, Nomsa exchanged her cleaning jobs for an opportunity to join the T-Bag workshop team, but kept on painting teabags at home on her own time. Nomsa told me ‘Our product is so unique because the teabags are painted from designs that come from the artists minds & hearts, we don’t use patterns.’

She saved her ‘teabag money’ to pay for a new house to be built for her family in ImizamoYethu.  Today Nomsa is the Store Supervisor, helping customers with their selections.  She enjoys her job very much and is extremely thankful this opportunity came her way.

Peggy has been at Original T-Bag Designs for 8 years. She is from Limpopo, in the Eastern Cape.  She has a partner and a daughter of 4, but also looks after her mom & dad as she is the bread winner of the ‘family’ which is made up of over 20 people. 

Peggy in the Original t-bag Designs ShopPeggy joined the company via an introduction from her Aunt who was working there at the time. She was shy and lacked any self-confidence.  As she watched her colleagues and decided this was an opportunity ‘sent from Heaven’!

Today, Peggy has a ‘larger than life’ personality and is the top sales person for the company. She looks after the Original T-Bag Designs' shop in the very popular V&A shopping mall located at the Waterfront in Cape Town. She also stills enjoys working in the workshop when she has time.  Peggy is extremely grateful for her job and says she was ‘blessed’ to find it. She also wants to thank our customers who support them and proudly commented that, “This is something very unique and you can’t find these products anywhere in the world!’

These are only two women from the very special team at Original T-Bag Designs.  If you have the chance to come to the Cape, a stop to see them at their workshop in Hout Bay is a ‘Must Do’ and we would be happy to arrange your personal visit!

Cheerio from a sunny Cape Town.