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Why going green is in the bag

The green argument alone will not win over consumers intent on bagging a bargain, according to Paul Doyle, managing director of Carlow company Trolley Bags.

Trolley Bags last week launched a new, reusable trolley bag in the Irish market. Doyle is, however, cautious about the market response in these cost conscious times.

‘‘The trouble with a lot of green products is that they are more expensive than noon eco friendly equivalents,’’ he said. ‘‘It is a good time to offer a ‘green’ product or service, once you can provide value for money.

Easy to use, durable design

Doyle believes that his product will benefit from its easy to use, durable design.

‘‘A lot of our competitors are very much based around the material used, but the design of their product is still very basic.

‘‘Our bag is made from very hard wearing polyester, which should last for two years, but just as importantly, we concentrate on functionality.

‘‘If the bag makes people’s lives easier while shopping, they will remember it and reuse it.’’

Formerly a software developer employed in the financial sector, Doyle established Trolley Bags in April 2009.

‘‘I was grocery shopping with my wife and noticed how the check-out process was delayed mainly by the way people packed their shopping,’’ he said.

‘‘I thought there must be a way of turning the common ‘one hand holding and one hand packing’ method into twice as fast ‘two hands packing’.

The prototype

‘‘I am very hands-on so I took out the sewing machine and started making my own prototypes. I soon knew we had something that would appeal to both supermarkets and customers.’’
Doyle worked with a specialist eco agent, China Green, to source a suitable manufacturer for the product.

‘‘I gave them a product spec and they approached about 40 Chinese companies and made a short list of five. I travelled to China in March 2009 and picked one from the list. I would definitely advise anyone thinking of going down the same lines to approach somebody like China Green,’’ he said.

Doyle has agreed a deal with one retail chain, which launched Trolley Bags in stores around the country last Thursday at a cost of e9 each.

Large chain exclusivity

‘‘This particular retailer has been very easy to deal with, and we get a 30 per cent margin on each sale. Other large chains did not offer as favourable terms and some looked for exclusivity,’’ said Doyle.
Doyle said he would consider external funding if the venture tackles overseas’ markets.

‘‘We will wait for sales figures to come back and once armed with that information, we will approach investors.’’

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