Starting with a few greeting cards in 2000, Original T- Bag Designs now incorporates their recycled, beautifully hand-painted tea bags into a variety of products. The tea bags are donated from around the world to make this possible. Once the bags are dried, the tea is removed, the paper is ironed and it becomes a canvas for the local ‘tea bag artists’!
Each artist hand paints their own patterns on the tea bag. Once the painted bags are finished, they are sold back to the Teabag factory, where a vast array of products are made using the painted bags to make unique designs on their product collections.
Jill Heyes moved from the UK to Hout Bay, located just south of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1996. Jill was taken by the poverty from the local township of ImizamoYethu, and was compelled to help throw a hand of friendship out to some of the local women from this community. One day over a cup of tea with a friend, the idea was born to use the old bags as the basis of this unique company. Being able to paint the teabags at home is a perfect opportunity for the single moms of the community as it can be done while minding the children.
Jill’s idea has resulted in much more than providing women employment. Both men and women now provide for themselves and their families and enjoy the environment at Original T- Bag Designs that thrives on determination, cooperation, confidence, and pride that did not before exist in the lives of Jill’s t-bag team before joining this 'family'.