Eco-Entrepreneur: Marty Stevens-Hebner of Rebagz Handbags

12/30/2010 05:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What is your name, title and the name of your business?
Marty Stevens-Heebner. I'm the Founder & President of Rebagz® Handbags.

What service does your business provide or what does it sell?
We design and sell beautiful bags, made the way things should be -- the eco- & human-friendly way.

What is it that makes your product/service green, eco-, or just plain better for us?
All of our handbags are made using recycled materials, including recycled paper, rice sacks, plastic and juice packs. They're also made using fair labor -- I've personally visited the Philippines several times to ensure that the workers are paid and treated fairly.

We even carry Green America's Seal of Approval! And, if that's not enough, we donate $1 per order to Global Exchange (, an organization I did humanitarian work with in Chiapas, Mexico during the aftermath of the Zapatista Rebellion.

What were you doing for work prior to starting this business?

I had my own handcrafted jewelry business (that would be me doing all of the handcrafting). I was having success at various events and festivals around Southern California, and even got some magazine attention. Then, I decided it was time to create a bigger, more serious business... hence Rebagz®.

When did you start your business?

I began in July 2007.

What was the impetus for starting your eco-business?
My mother raised me to recycle, and when I was doing human rights work, I was amazed at the resourcefulness of the people in the indigenous villages I visited. Because they couldn't afford to buy new things all the time, everything had a second life, and often a third and fourth one after that. Very inspiring!

Who are your target customers?
Fashion-conscious and socially-conscious women, ages 25 to 49, urban or urban/suburban.

Where are you located and/or what areas do you service?
Our offices are located in Van Nuys, CA and our bags are sold in hundreds of boutiques across the country. Everything's available online as well at

What would help you grow your business (if this is moolah, how much)?
Spread the word! We're working on building our Internet sales and on getting us into department stores. We were just on the cover of WWD/Women's Wear Daily, so it's time!

What is your biggest challenge with your business?

Keeping up with demand and making people realize that our bags fall into the "eco-superior" category -- i.e. superior style, superior quality as compared to other bags, particularly those made in China.

If you could meet any entrepreneur, who would it be?
Sir Richard Branson would be a hoot to meet. I'd ask him who does his hair. ;)

What is your public contact info?

What's your favorite donut, and why?
Just give me a glazed donut and I'm happy happy happy. All that sugar just takes so good!