“With all this talent, know-how and material, it seemed to me that if someone were to provide capital and professional training, these women artisans, especially weavers, could create a wonderful and successful future for themselves.”
Meredyth Bowler Ailloud, Founder of PagaBags
What if we could recycle plastic bags that litter our streets and waterways and transform them into a source of beauty and economic gain for women?
This was the idea behind PagaBags. Founder Meredyth Bowler Ailloud always saw the potential for fashion to lead the way in respect for the planet and people involved in its manufacturing. Having worked extensively in West Africa in international solidarity projects involving women empowerment, she was well aware of the talent, traditions, and creativity in the field of weaving and sewing. In 2013, she decided to create a social company in Burkina Faso in cooperation with women’s associations to bring innovative, handmade products to life while contributing to the local economy and helping the environment.
Starting with handbags, she quickly moved to accessories to economize on her leftover material and then to creating jewelry of recycled plastic thanks to her chance encounter with the association Zemes Taaba. Meredyth is constantly taking on new projects for PagaBags promoting the myriad of talented local artisans in Burkina Faso.
Meet our products
PagaBags is committed to selling high-quality, beautiful, handmade products that are good for people and good for the planet. Our flagship bags are made from a unique material that combines plastic bags with local, GMO-free cotton. Our line of handbags also draws on traditional batiks, mud-painted cotton, faso dan fani cloth and wax. Committed to the highest environmental standards, we have transformed an infamously polluting activity to a planet-friendly one, adopting non-toxic and organic ingredients and techniques in making our products. This has a double advantage: our artisans don’t pollute and they acquire valuable new skills.
Our ethos extends to our jewelry and accessories, which are also handmade with the same care and tradition.
PagaBags is a team of 3 intrepid women based in Lyon and London who enjoy taking on a worthwhile challenge and provoking change. Our social business was created in partnership with 40 women waste collectors, plastic cutters, weavers, sewers, batik makers, bead-makers – and also a handful of men!
Ardent promoters of women’s rights, we provide on-site professional training and capacity building, ensure good working conditions including a healthcare program for all of our partners, and are especially proud to have enabled the women to return to school.
All our efforts are pieces of the ever-so-challenging puzzle towards empowerment, a universal concept based on respect, understanding, pride, information-sharing, and the idea that there is no lasting success without economic and social well-being.
“Paga” means “woman” in Mooré, the local language of Ouagadougou, Burkina’s capital. And PagaBags is full of women: our founder, our artisans, our customers. We are all about women empowering women.
Keep up with us on social media or send us an email – we love meeting our customers and hearing your thoughts!