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This Mother and Daughter Duo Upcycle Old Billboards Into Eco Stylish Products

Published on May 4, 2017 by   ·   88 Comments Pin It
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Della Simpson and Kari Brizius are on a mission to save the world, one billboard at a time.

The mother-daughter duo are behind Relan, a Minnesota-based company that upcycles old billboards and banners into gifts and promotional items for organizations concerned about their impact on the environment. Della and Kari always knew they wanted to work together and their passion for health, service, and living a purposeful life led them to their work today with Relan. “When you create a company and align it with your goals in life, you will find that every day allows you to share that passion and enjoy what you’re doing,” agree the duo.

Della Simpson and Kari Brizius are on a mission to save the world, one billboard at a time.

Mother and Daughter Green Gals, Della Simpson and Kari Brizius.

In order to truly make an impact, Della and Kari needed to think big, targeting the biggest users of vinyl in the U.S., which exceeds over 600,000 tons every year. With partners like MINI USA, Major League Soccer (MLS), the University of Minnesota, and the Marine Corps Marathon, Relan has succeeded by working across industries to reduce the amount of material in landfills. Their unique approach allows organizations to continue promoting and building their brand through the use of their old materials, while also reducing their environmental footprint.

Promotional gear made from old billboards!

Promotional gear made from old billboards!

Relan’s commitment to the environment and their local community is evident in every aspect of their work. All of their products are cleaned, designed, and created in the U.S., using minimal water and eco-friendly soaps for cleaning. They also partner with local groups like ProAct, an employer of the mentally- and physically-challenged, and local community centers to clean and create their products. In addition, they work with organizations like ReUse MN and The Makers Coalition to promote the future of sustainability across the country.

Custom bags

Custom bags

In total, Relan has kept over 300,000 square feet of material out of landfills since 2011, and they don’t plan on slowing down. And their bags are so well made, and last forever! They can create nearly any style of bag with these materials, including the gorgeous lined one I took home after Sophie Uliano’s book launch!​​ The fully lined Tony Tote can travel anywhere keeping all your precious items secure with a zippered inside pocket and zippered top closure. This tote is designed using repurposed vinyl and fabric banners and vinyl billboards of various colors creating a beautiful contrast. 

The Tony Tote: A lined everyday bag made from recycled billboards!

The Tony Tote: A lined everyday bag made from recycled billboards!

The upcycled textured vinyl bottom and repurposed, rescued fabric lining complete the design. Two 28″ non-adjustable handles.

“Find something you love to do and just do it,” Kari explained. “You can wait forever and never take the leap, or you can do it, try it, and make the most of it.”

How can you help? Talk to the marketing or events team at your current employer to see if you have old banners or other material that could be repurposed. And then drop Della and Kari a line at relangreen.com.

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