Eco-fashion house Baabaazuzu celebrates 20 years

Eco-fashion house Baabaazuzu celebrates 20 years
Logo courtesy Baabaazuzu
Logo courtesy Baabaazuzu

Northern Michigan is no stranger to upcycling. We outdoors lovers also tend to die for great winter accessories. 20 years ago, a laundry accident in Lake Leelanau led to just that—shrunken wool sweaters quickly became wearable works of art and Sue and Kevin Burns founded Baabaazuzu.

“To think my laundry error has had this much impact and longevity is incredible,” says Baabaazuzu co-founder and VP, Kevin Burns. “The past 20 years have been a whirlwind; we’re excited to continue our mission of creating in Michigan and saving garments from being tossed into the landfill.”

Baabaazuzu’s method is simple: take an unwanted cotton or wool garment and recreate it into a scarf, hat, purse, or other improved garment. Each piece is hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind—even a single pair of mittens may take on the same color scheme but don’t match exactly.

“It’s unbelievable this all [Baabaazuzu] began 20 years ago,” explains Baabaazuzu co-founder and CEO, Sue Burns. “Our success wouldn’t be possible without our customers, wholesalers and ever-so-talented staff.”

DSC01607-1024x682Between 1993 and today, Baabaazuzu has skyrocketed to success, launching an upcycled clothing craze from Lake Leelanau, Michigan to Lake Placid, New York, and beyond. What started as a modest way to reuse well-loved garments has now become an exciting, eco-friendly fashion trend.

Baabaazuzu saves nearly 4,000 pounds of wool and cotton from the landfill each month. Their one-of-a-kind designs can be found across the U.S., as well as Australia, Canada, South Korea and Japan. In Michigan, Baabaazuzu has saturated the market; you’re sure to be able to find Baabaazuzu in a retailer near you!

Baabaazuzu hosted a ‘thank you’ party for local patrons this past Wednesday at The Little Fleet in downtown Traverse City. The Awesome Mitten was there and lucky to partake in complimentary local wine from Verterra Winery, a special trunk show with ten percent off all Baabaazuzu products, and a meet and greet with the Zu Crew. Ten percent of all proceeds from the night were donated to Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, the company’s initial garment supplier.

0933_091214_7373_F_11x16-1For more information about Baabaazuzu’s clothing and accessories lines, check out their website, read the Zu Crew blog, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. To find Baabaazuzu products near you, check out one of the Michigan retailers listed below.

Alden – Lavoie Designs
Alma – The Cobbler Shop
Alpena – Masters Lalonde Shoes
Ann Arbor – 16 Hands
Ann Arbor – The Caravan Shop
Ann Arbor – Carol Roeda Studio
Ann Arbor – Mast Shoes
Athens – York Country Design
Bad Axe – Buckley’s Shoes
Baldwin – The Katt’s Meow
Bay City – Herman Hiss & Company
Bear Lake – Serendipity
Benzonia – Gwen Frostic
Beulah – Luna Boutique
Birmingham – Arizona Saddlery
Birmingham – Artloft
Bloomfield – Sundance Shoes
Boston – Balckstone’s of Beacon Hill
Brighton – Beverly Rae’s
Cadillac – RJ Grants
Calumet – Calumet Mercantile
Chelsea – Bead by Bead
Chelsea – Vogel’s & Foster’s
Clarkston – Bonnie & Clyde
Clawson – Leon and Lulu
Dearborn – Nichols Ski & Snowboard
Detroit – Detroit Institute of Arts Museum Shop
East Tawas – Miller Shoes
Elk Rapids – Stuff N’ Such
Falmouth – Ebels General Store
Flint – Hurley Lobby Shop – Hurley Medical Center
Gaylord – Isabella’s Copper Pot
Gaylord – Main Street Shoes
Grand Rapids – Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus
Grand Rapids – Emmanuel
Grand Rapids – Horrocks Market
Grand Rapids – Kenney’s
Grand Rapids – V & A Bootery
Grayling – Riverland Gear
Highland – Casa de Amici Unique Furnishings
Holland – Outpost of Holland
Iron Mountain – Ginny’s Hallmark
Iron Mountain – Linnea & Kristine
Kalamazoo – Sydney in the Raddison
Kalamazoo – V & A Bootery
Leland – Manitou Outfitters
Linwood – Franks Great Outdoors
Livonia – Cobbler’s Corner
Ludington – Snyder’s Shoes
Mackinac Island – London Square
Manistee – River Street Gallery
Michigamme – Crock & Rocker
Midland – The Rockwell House
Milford – After The Rain
Mt. Pleasant – Trillium
Muskegon – Tru Fit Comfort Shoe Store
Newaygo – Powers Outdoors
Niles – Fernwood Botanical Garden
Northport – Kamp Grounds
Northville – Dancing Eye Gallery
Northville – Lorla Enterprises
Okemos – Playmakers
Pentwater – Marilyn’s Style
Petoskey – Grandpa Shorter Gifts Inc.
Petoskey – Joie De Vie
Plymouth – Gigi’s Mode
Plymouth – Maggie and Me
Portage – V & A Bootery
Port Huron – Art For Good
Rochester – Tracy Jane Jewelry
Rockford – Jade
Roscommon – Studio North
Royal Oak – Gallery U & Boutique
Royal Oak – Paris
Royal Oak – Studio Sandra
Sault Ste Marie – Barish Bros
South Haven – Crescent Moon
St. Clair – Hers
St. Clair Shores – Circare
St. Joseph – V & A Bootery
Sturgis – Willer’s Shoes
Suttons Bay – The Painted Bird
Sylvan Lake – Outdoor Action Company
Thompsonville – Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa
Traverse City – Cali’s
Traverse City – Golden-Fowler
Traverse City – Golden Shoes
Traverse City – Green Island
Traverse City – Pure Essence
Westland – Repurpose
Whitehall – The Corner House of Gifts
Wyandotte – Country Enchantments

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I like to think that I’m just a simple northern Michigan twentysomething who loves good craft brews, great wine, summertime grillouts, and well-roasted coffee. I'm also a dedicated yoga practitioner, social media and marketing enthusiast, reader and writer, local food junkie, and outdoors explorer--and I'm always adding to the list. If you want to know something about what's going on in Traverse City, chances are I know about it and it's even more likely that I'm involved in it. I love this town and I love helping to make it shine.