The Femme Stories is a blog series celebrating the makers who inspire and empower their community, and continue to gift us with their creativity, these are their stories.

Paul | Goodfarken

Upcycling is a new buzzword that is kicking around our ethos, but it is not a new term. I love when I see creatives make this a part of their brand. I met Paul from Goodfarken at OOAK last year and with a quick pass by his booth, I knew instantly he was using existing items to make his bags. It is such a smart idea that produces truly unique products. In the case of Goodfarken, Paul is taking T-shirts and turning them into Tee Bags.

paul, upcycler behind goodfarken

What is Goodfarken for anyone who is new to your brand?

Goodfarken is a brand that makes Tee Bags, but my vision for the future is much bigger. For right now this is a big enough category that I can focus on. I love taking things that already exist and turning them into something else, it's a passion I've had forever. I think it goes back to going to auctions when I was a kid with my dad and he would buy furniture and refinish it. I loved seeing that transformation of something becoming new, better, and cool again. 

What does Goodfarken mean or how did you come up with this name?

It’s completely made up and I’ve made up the definition too. It’s a Canadian word, and it means something that is really good for people. It’s cool, well made, good for the planet, and a really useful product. Something that is Goodfarken, are all of these things.


Each bag is upcycled from existing products, was sustainability an intentional aspect when building your company?

Yes, sustainability has been with me for my adult life. When I went off to university in the early 90s, I wanted to save the world, so I got my degree in Environment and Resource Management. I was very conscious of the movement, that we are still currently in and fighting for. Long story short, yes, it’s been a part of me and my values for as long as I can remember.

What is each Tee Bag made with? 

The outside of each Goodfarken bag is made from a t-shirt. The inside is double layered, one is a cotton canvas, this isn’t upcycled, but helps me create consistency throughout my products. The other inside layer, the one you see, is salvaged materials, it could be bed sheets or off-cut fabric. The pockets are all upcycled from jeans, and then I use a karate belt for the strap, 30% of these are second-hand, but the rest I have to buy.

How far-reaching is your sourcing for the existing materials that you work with? 

Honestly, I'm really just sourcing here, in Ontario. I do get people sending me their old t-shirts as well though. They ship them to me from the states and all over Canada. I try and keep the word out to my customers because they are always looking to donate their clothing responsibly and I can offer them a way to do that with select items. 

You work with the Unison Benevolent Fund through your music Tee Bags, what does this partnership look like? 

 I started that in 2019. I'm really conscious of the fact that if I'm buying band tees and turning them into bags, then I want to give back, you know? With the Unison Benevolent Fund, I donate Music Tee Bags to them for their fundraising. I do have an agreement with The Tragically Hip where I buy their old shirts and excess stock that they have and they get royalties’ from the bags of theirs I sell. I always want to get more awareness out there and help the Canadian Music Industry.

Lastly, what are you currently reading?

I am reading Harry Potter with my kids & for myself, The Time Machine by H.G Wells

Being an upcycler takes a certain kind of creativity. You use a different part of your creative brain to look at existing items and see new life for them. It is something we all need to start doing and when I see makers implementing this into their companies I want to shine a light on them. What is more sustainable than making a unique, well-made product from something that someone doesn’t want anymore? Goodfarken literally has SO many options, they have a bag for everyone. Whether you are into music, movies, sports, or a pop culture junkie, these bags are cool, sustainable, and useful, they are goodfarken!

Check out Goodfarken at the One of a Kind Show March 28th - April 1st, get your tickets here, plus make sure to follow Paul's journey on instagram.

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Written by Carissa McCaig

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