Nick Stygstra and Nick Stockton created Teamwork Bags to remind customers where they are from. Located in Grand Rapids, with the intent of staying true to West Michigan, these bags are all made with recycled sails and canvases found in the Great Lakes state. The majority of these materials are usually on their way to the garbage. Stygstra, Stockton, along with a dedicated group of interns, friends, and family all have a great time discovering all the discarded products they can use. Along with recycled canvases and sails, Teamwork Bags are made using old banners and tractor tire inner tubes.
Stygstra, with a graphic design background, creates art that connects with everyday people and makes a statement. Stockton, also with a background in design, finds art at its best in a functional context. This combination of artistic aspirations eventually led to the creation of these wonderful, useful bags. However, the original Teamwork Bag was made not to be sold, but was actually created out of necessity. Nick Stockton created his first Teamwork Bag as an art and design student who could not afford to purchase a backpack on his own. Five years later, Stockton and Stygstra went to the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago to try and sell a line of t-shirts they had printed. One thing led to another and the two decided to bring back the bag that Stockton had once created. They were able to produce 11 bags for the craft fair and almost all were sold over that short period of time. Upon returning from Chicago, the two reinvested their profit, purchased a sewing machine, and went on to create more batches of bags.
The purpose of Teamwork Bags was to create something unique as well as practical. These bags are all extremely durable as well as functional, as the military canvas and sails they’re comprised of were originally created to endure weather conditions and extreme wear and tear. The long lasting, strong materials that make up Teamwork Bags all have a story to tell. The two speak of sails as, “collecting history and soaking up soul as they’re used,” and love incorporating these recycled materials into everyday life while staying connected to the Great Lakes.
There are currently three different kinds of bags to be purchased made from sail material: the Es Deluxe, C-Scow, and the Drifter. There are four canvas bags to choose from:f the Dopp Bag, the Long Haul Duffler, the Adventure Backpack, and the WSJ Messenger, all of which can be found on their website. Stay up to date with Stygstra’s and Stockton’s news via their blog, Twitter, or Facebook pages and see how they’ve managed to keep their hands dirty with their latest creations.