GIMED: Sustainable bags and accessories, fashionable products made out of recycled tire tubes from trucks and bicycles in Lebanon
Every year, thousands of tons of rubber tubes from tires are disposed of as waste. This material is not degradable and would be energy-intensive to recycle. If burned, it produces highly toxic gases that pollute the environment even further. Reusing this material smartly can have a substantial impact on the environment. VEA was born from a conscious purpose to contribute in preserving the environment.
Being fashionably responsible, they are in the business of upcycling inner tire rubber tubes into fashionable, handmade rubber bags, purses, wallets, belts and accessories. “Reusing materials and upcycling them have always been my passion and I practised it as a hobby whenever I could”, confirms Patrick El Zoghbi, VEA’s Founder. Tires are round and curved, and their rubber comes in different thicknesses. When their designers and tailors were tasked with transforming this material into fashion items, they had to rethink the entire process of making handbags and deploy efforts of imagination and inventiveness with each eco-design to exploit the advantages of this unusual material.
All their products are designed by talented Lebanese fashion designers and handcrafted by their skilled tailors, with the collaboration of Société Saint Vincent de Paul – Liban for their side work. The rubber used in our product comes from used bicycle, motorbike, car and truck inner tire tubes. “Moving towards sustainability is a social challenge that entails the evolving of local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism”, says El Zoghbi.
VEA is happy to be doing their part for the environment. With every new item they create, they help make their environment cleaner and raise awareness. They have even partnered with local car tire repairing shops and leading bicycle shops to collect old tires and inner tubes “at the source” for their products. Thanks to GIMED project, VEA had the opportunity to be mentored and couched on different subjects of business creation.
Patrick is a Mechanical Engineer and has more than 12 years of experience into construction and project management, employed when he decided to found VEA in year 2014. From the beginning, he is the Founder and acting CEO and handles in depth the production operation. The political and financial situation of Lebanon, the local place of the start-up of this business has been the biggest constraint. It had a big distress impact on our business. With lots of unknown factors around… was and still is their biggest constraint and nightmare.
“Definetely, without GIMED all this would be time consuming and of lesser value if made alone. With GIMED, for sure it increases the success factor for us”
How GIMED is supporting VEA?
After its selection done by Berytech, the Lebanese partner from GIMED, this inspiring initiative could have added value for a focus on the latest sustainable trends and circular economy approaches. Now at VEA they plan to relaunch and expand after a slow down since 2017. “GIMED project is helping us assess our position, and mostly have the opportunity to be back on track, motivating us along”, shares El Zoghbi.
By the end of the support they will have an updated complete business plan with a pitch desk ready to be used anytime in front of an investor. “Definetely, without GIMED all this would be time consuming and of lesser value if made alone. With GIMED, for sure it increases the success factor for us”, he adds. Besides, the young entrepreneur could do networking, friendship and collaboration with the couches and mostly with other members of this same program.
The achievement made by VEA’s designers was when they ended up with a precise method of picking different rubber samples from trucks, cars, motorcycles and bicycles, and aesthetically combining them to create beautiful, sturdy and environmentally-responsible handcrafted bags, wallets, cases, belts, jewelry and home décor that stand the test of time.