SA township woman’s recycled Rooibos tea bag purses all the rage in Paris

A 33-year-old Zimbabwean woman living in Cape Town is seeing her creation of purses made from rooibos teabags take off in Paris, one of the fashion capitals of the world.

Gracious Dube, who says she has always had an eye for fashion, is now seeing her purses sell in Paris

Asked why she chose the famous South African brand of rooibos tea for her creation, Dube said it was because it is her favourite tea.

“I love drinking rooibos and it was whilst drinking a cup that I came up with the idea of creating a purse from teabags. Initially, I tried making it with lots of different teabags, but the rooibos teabags were ideal. Not only do they give my purses a beautiful rich colour, but they also tend to be a lot stronger than other teabags,” said Dube.

Dube said when she moved to South Africa she got involved with a company called Original T-Bag Designs in 2006. Original T-Bag Designs was a company that started out as a social responsibility project by founder, Jill Heyes, to help impoverished women from Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay earn money, by making unique arts and crafts from teabags and boxes.

Dube said she was trained by her former art teacher.

How she makes her purses

Explaining how she makes her purses, Dube said she starts off by drying and ironing about 45 to 50 rooibos teabags. Once done, the teabags are varnished and either glued or carefully stitched onto silk. Some purses are also decoratively painted to add to the unique look.

“I’d like to think that this is just the beginning of a burgeoning fashion business. I have so many ideas buzzing in my head and can’t wait to try them out. My mom and son are also very supportive and just love that my purses are making headlines in Paris. They often help me to prepare the teabags, so are very much a part of my success,” said Dube.

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