Since founding Origin Recycled Goods nearly two years ago, Westbrook has stayed true to his pledge to create products made completely from salvaged materials: fabric, buckles, snaps, Velcro, zippers and more. “I’m trying to make a 100 percent repurposed bag. Every part of it—all the hardware, everything—is something that I’ve gathered and cleaned and repurposed,” says Westbrook. “My idea is to have a guilt-free line. As a consumer, that’s what I look for. There’s not a lot out there.” Even Origin’s shipping materials come from recycled sources.
PEDAL POWER An avid cyclist with a strong environmental ethos, Westbrook does virtually all his business by bicycle, logging as much as 120 miles a week. “It’s 100 percent bike-run, which is a challenge,” he admits. At one point, the majority of his products were made from salvaged bike inner tubes, but that is changing. “It’s always a work in progress, because the supply is always changing.”
WASTE WATCHER “I can get really jaded working in these waste streams and seeing how little people care about things and how fast and cheap they want them,” says Westbrook. “It can get a little discouraging when you’re trying to make something handmade in a place where people are looking outside the country for the cheapest possible thing.” But he is buoyed by customer feedback. “The things people say about the products are so reinvigorating.”
PERSONAL VALUES Origin is more than a business for Westbrook; it’s a belief system. “Frankly, if I was in it for money, I wouldn’t have made it very far,” he says. “I’ve always liked making things for myself. I would definitely do it whether or not the money came. I typically sleep pretty well knowing that the money I do make is something I can stand behind. It’s something I really believe in.”
WHERE TO BUY Westbrook sells Origin products at design fairs in Sacramento and San Francisco and online through his Etsy shop. Wallets sell for $22, messenger bags for $85 to $120. originrecycledgoods.com.