Stephanie Heinecken – Saxsy Bags

It’s seems fitting that someone who worked for the well known environmentalist John Denver would end up creating a venture that is working towards protecting the environment.  Stephanie Heineken stayed in Colorado after attending the University of Boulder.  Working as an editor and writer on wildlife documentaries for PBS kept her focused on the outdoor world.

When she met John Denver and became his executive assistant, she was able to meld her love of the outdoors with someone who walked the walk. “He was a pioneer during the height of his career and someone whose songs referenced environmental issues,” Stephanie says, “like Rocky Mountain High.”

“Living in Colorado, it’s so easy to become connected to nature and cultivate a deep love for the importance of our natural resources.”  So what is Stephanie doing?  When she was single she didn’t notice her level of plastic bag consumption, but with a growing family and her increased number of trips to the grocery store, Stephanie’s eyes were opened and she did some research.

She learned that plastic bags are not biodegradable, that only 1% of bags are recycled, and that many end up in landfills and the oceans.  She began to take the heavy beige bags on her trips to the grocery to use but wanted something more light weight, hip and stylish.

That’s what led her to create her line of reusable bags that are made out of bright colors and exciting patterns.  The name, Saxsy Bags, a pun used to make her bags memorable.  With no retail experience, she began researching fabrics that would work for grocery items and found a family run business in Guyana, through an importer in Miami, to create her bags.  With a prototype, Stephanie self funded her first order and began selling the bags on-line and at gift shows.

“I had a burning desire to stop talking and do something, to be more mindful of my consumption in the world,” she says, “Using recyclable bags is such an easy thing and I hope my bags make it more fun and fashionable.”

With two girls aged 7 and 8, Stephanie hopes she is setting a good example by showing them how such a small thing can have such a big impact.  Who knew an introduction to one of the world’s most famous environmentalists would lead her to do her own part to help shrink the world’s footprint.

Contact:  stephanie@saxsystuff.com; www.saxsystuff.com

VentureMom Tip

Create your venture around an existing need that can be done in a different way.

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