Baxbag: Sustainably supporting your back and the planet

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On October 12, Shafiq Zaib will be launching Baxbag on crowdfunding page Indiegogo, a completely planet-friendly backpack produced by manufacturing company Veshin.

“My favourite thing someone has said is: ‘I feel like an alpha male now’” Shafiq Zaib, founder of Baxbag, tells me. Leading up to her company’s crowdfunding launch on Indiegogo on October 12, the entrepreneur and naturopathic medical doctor has been scouting the streets of London, finding candidates to try her new product on.

From actors, to yoga instructors, to martial artists, Zaib has been receiving overwhelming positive feedback on her new invention: a completely sustainable backpack designed to fix our posture. From a studio across London, Zaib excitedly recounts her journey — two years in the making — to the result that is Baxbag.

 

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‘Baxbag was born out of a desire to heal myself’

Originally from New York City but residing in Singapore, Zaib is in London until November, where she has been putting the last pieces of her business together before the product launch.

This is Zaib’s fifth startup, so while she is nervous, she tells me the lead-up to October 12 is not a new experience. The crowd fund will run for 35 days and, after production, the founder of Baxbag hopes to be in full production by Christmas. While her biggest obstacle to this journey so far has been getting the word out, she tells me the bag as it is now has gone through eight different models.

After completing a biochemistry degree and enduring medical school, the doctor travelled through 50 different countries. “Wearing a backpack was part of my everyday life.” Getting the posture-correcting feature correct was Zaib’s biggest goal.

But this life eventually took a toll on her body, and Zaib experimented with all sorts of posture correctors, while she slept and while she travelled, but found these were neither comfortable nor aesthetically appealing. “Baxbag was born out of a desire to heal myself. I asked why I couldn’t just fix this problem, so I did.”

The entrepreneur specialises in naturopathy and explains that with this came with an expertise in individualised medicine. With a passion for plant healing and holistic exploration, she took this idea of individual medication and matched it with sustainability. Baxbag will be produced in China-based manufacturing factory Veshin.

Planet- and human-friendly design

The bags can be bought in off-white and green, or black. They feature all the necessary compartments, including water bottle pockets, phone pockets and an internal laptop sleeve. But Baxbag is more than just clever, it’s sustainable and medically approved too.

The bags are made from the following materials:

While taking the less sustainable route would have taken 75% less time, Zaib says avoiding adding to the planet’s waste was highly important to her. “I didn’t want to create something that would just fuel the fast-fashion world, or landfills. It’s just logical to me,” she explains.

sustainable bags
Photo: Baxbag

“My question would be: ‘Why wouldn’t you?’ I’m all about raising the vibration of the planet!” she exclaims.

Meanwhile, her expertise, which lies in naturopathy, has led her to produce something that strives to fix the ‘hunchback’ formed from technology use. Baxbag prices range from $129 (£100) to $199 (£155) including shipping, which Zaib sees as one visit to the chiropractor. “But this will offset any future pain. And you don’t have to be in pain to wear one; it’s just good for your body,” she adds.

The founder outlines the factors that have gone into creating Baxbag’s “ergonomic effect”. There are four straps, — which go into and through the bag — which can be adjusted according to every individual’s shoulders, and create a tightening effect.

The cross, which meets in the middle, is raised and makes for a greater surface contact on the shoulder blades — pushing them gently. The final, but most important, item is the lumbar support cushion. This has been positioned to sit into the spine area and conform to the natural curve we all have.

“Baxbag is stepping away from the one-size-fits-all; it’s an individualised experience,” says Zaib. The company’s biggest target market is secondary school students, where growth is at its most critical stage. As we age, our spines continue to grow, and the rise in device use has had a significant effect on the curve of our backs. Mobile phone use is seen to be the single biggest cause of neck and back pain. The Baxbag founder hopes that her product will help avoid this if it starts with younger people.

vegan bags
Photo: Baxbag

Since the first prototype, Zaib has tried her Baxbag products on over 1,000 different people. She says the secret to getting people to do this has been her incredible energy. Once, she even had an entire group of girls take the backpacks and dance in the middle of the streets.

One day, the founder sees Baxbag replacing every backpack in the world. With it being over 50 years since the first backpack was invented, she says it’s about time that they were all made this way.

“It’s good for your body, it’s good for the planet, and it’s in line with the ethos that people want to be participating in today. Why wouldn’t anyone want to provide a product like this?”

Olivia Rafferty
Olivia is the Assistant Editor of The Vegan Review. An aspiring Middle Eastern correspondent currently studying journalism at City, University of London, she is passionate about the planet, she believes veganism is the first step to solving the complexities of climate change.