Ucluelet, Vancouver Island/Coast

AHOY BAGS

Ucluelet, Vancouver Island/Coast


One of a kind! We are true believers in sustainability and on a mission to lessen the environmental impact. That‘s why we not only chose to upcycle the finest vintage sails, but also to make them locally here on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, keeping jobs in the community. We also are convinced that 'Form Follows Function'. The result are incredibly light, bespoke bags that hold-up against almost any challenge. Each unique bag features a patina, gracefully inherited from the sail it has been crafted from, weathered trough countless adventures on the Pacific. During the design process we carefully consider every repair patch, re-seamed section, tear or stain, as these bags will proudly carry them to tell their story of past achievements out on the Pacific. Our key industry partners reported a reduction of their landfill waste by 70%! In return, we upcycled 100% of these decommissioned sails into sustainable and long-lasting bags, which in return helped to replace single-use plastics/shopping bags since 2012, reducing the environmental impact even further.


2 Employees

In Business Since 2012

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AHOY BAGS has been nominated in the following categories:

Click on the banners to find out why they deserve your vote in each category.

Best Immigrant Entrepreneur


Please tell us your personal story and about your business. How you started, and how you have overcome challenges.

It all started back in 2012, but arguably even further back than this. Growing up in Germany in the 1980/90, sustainability and recycling was the talk of the time, but it wasn’t an easy win. The French secret service had just sunk Greenpeace’s ‘Rainbow Warrior’ and radioactive Castor Transports where met head-on by dedicated protestors, all of which at the eve of the ‘Green Dot’, Germany’s national recycling system. As a child, it profoundly shaped our sense of the environment and the impact society creates through wastefulness. After we inadvertently immigrated to Canada 2009, we discovered a need for high quality/functional design products, made locally for visitors and locals alike. Single-use plastic bags had been the primary mode of transport for many grocery shoppers, with only linen bags as an alternative, often of questionable longevity and origin of manufacture. With our background deeply rooted in Art and Design, an opportunity seemed to present itself - Every other year, Ucluelet is a leg in the VanIsle 360 Yacht race and the Harbour fills up with a floating forest of masts and colorful racing sails. But what happens to these sails when they get retired? We started building connections within the sailor/sail maker community and discovered that old sails are either confined to the basements or getting discharged into the landfill, whenever a sail is beyond repair through a sailmaker. The material (Dacron) is both extremely durable, but also quite resource intensive. In the beginning, we had to source the decommissioned sails as far away as Seattle. Local sail-lofts had been discarding sails that were beyond repair and industrial seamsters and seamstresses where incredibly hard to find. On the other hand, creating a brand from scratch would have been another challenge in a rural coastal community, but being able to do the entire Brand Identity, Prototyping and Web-development in-house, was a huge asset. With our combined experience in Industrial design, Graphic design, Photography and Art-trade, we were able to get something started right away and organically grey this grass-roots company into its present shape today. Early adopters, the community and our most loyal sail-lofts carried the project onwards. To the present day, we are proud to a product that is hard wearing, long lasting, that it takes a patina with pride and that it all is made locally, here on the Pacific Rim!

Why do you deserve to win the Best Immigrant Entrepreneur award?

Each and every one of us all brings unique skills and talents to the table. It would be impossible to determine based on these assets, who would be more deserving to be honoured with this reward that the next. Instead, it should be the impact a business has on its community and the environment at large – With raising sea-levels, islands of ocean plastic, ever expanding landfills and immediate climate change, it is the responsibility of every company, to produce products that are sustainable in every possible way. Not only here for us in BC, but also for those far more impacted by our consumerism abroad. We at Ahoy Bags try to create something meaningful, sustainable and yes, sexy, one bag at a time.

Best Innovation


What motivated you to start your business, what challenges did you overcome?

Our background is deeply rooted in European Art and Design and our conviction is sustainability. When we set-out to create a new company in 2012, it was clear that the environmental impact most products create, has to be addressed. Up until that point, single-use plastics where the norm, with alternatives few and hard to find. Plastic shopping bags had been the norm, with only thin canvas bags of questionable longevity and origin the only other mainstream option. It was clear that alternatives had to be created and we addressed the environmental impact by fully committing to a product line entirely upcycled from waste material. Sustainability also meant that the product had to be long-lasting, with no need for replacement in the near future thus reducing waste even further. In the beginning, we had to source the decommissioned sails as far away as Seattle. Local sail-lofts had been discarding sails that were beyond repair and industrial seamsters and seamstresses where incredibly hard to find. On the other hand, creating a brand from scratch would have been another challenge in a rural coastal community, but being able to do the entire Brand Identity, Prototyping and Web-development in-house, was a huge asset. With our combined experience in Industrial design, Graphic design, Photography and Art-trade, we were able to get something started right away and organically grew this grass-roots company into its present shape today. Early adopters, the community and our most loyal sail-lofts carried the project onwards. To the present day, we are the only company in Ucluelet and Tofino, that creates a green and sustainable product, completely upcycled from otherwise discarded materials. We enable our retailers to either compliment or replace part of their inventory with a fully upcycled product, which is locally made, creating revenue in a sustainable way. Customers and businesses alike take note in green products such as ours, so that over the years we have seen many trends emerging in our communities, in support of this grassroots movement. But also in communities outside of our own, we see the impact our company has - Our key Industry partners in the south-island region reported their landfill waste reduced by 70%, which not only positively impacted their own business, but also their community as a whole.

Why do you deserve to win the Best Innovation award?

Each and every one of us all brings unique skills and talents to the table. It would be impossible to determine based on these assets, who would be more deserving to be honoured with this reward that the next. Instead, it should be the impact a business has on its community and the environment at large – With raising sea-levels, islands of ocean plastic, ever expanding landfills and immediate climate change, it is the responsibility of every company, to produce products that are sustainable in every possible way. Not only here for us in BC, but also for those far more impacted by our consumerism abroad. We at Ahoy Bags try to create something meaningful, sustainable and yes, sexy, one bag at a time.

Nominations and voting has now closed.