By Leslie Luna
Success is in the bag for Carlsbad power couple Jen and Farzan Dehmoubed, founders of Lotus Trolley Bag, a versatile eco-friendly shopping bag system designed to help shoppers organize and efficiently pack their groceries in a fraction of the time.
Long before California voters approved the ban on flimsy plastic bags, the environmentally conscious couple was already using reusable bags. So when the ban took effect last fall, they jumped at the opportunity to create a practical system to make shopping easier.
The Dehmoubeds started playing with prototypes and doing countless hours of product testing along with market research until they came up with a perfect design and have recently applied for a patent.
The Carlsbad Business Journal caught up with the dynamic duo to talk about their Amazon launch and the inspiration behind the Lotus Trolley Bag.
Q: What’s behind the name of your brand?
A: My wife, a long-time yoga enthusiast, came up with the name, because the bags unfold like a lotus blossom. The lotus symbolizes purity in that it pushes up through adversity and muddy waters to blossom. Similarly, we hope to see our Lotus Trolley Bag help rise above and become a solution to plastic and excess waste.
Q: What sets Lotus Trolley bags apart from other canvas bags?
A: When Jennifer and I set out to make our Lotus Trolley Bags, we more than anything wanted to make a product we could be proud of. We went through many variations of the product with multiple manufacturers, testing in great detail the design, quality and strength of the bags. The last thing we wanted to make was another cheaply made reusable bag that would tear or fray after a few uses. To achieve this, we use 120-gram non-woven PP material (most reusable bags are 60-grams or less) with reinforced handles, double stitching and one of the strongest mesh bottoms we could find. We then had the bags tested with over 70 pounds in each bag, more than we could ever carry.
Besides the quality, some of the features that make our patent-pending bags unique include:
- Our poles, which are sized to allow the bags to be used with almost all standard U.S shopping carts, including our local stores like VONS, Ralphs, Walmart and others.
- Our second bag in the set is a large, insulated cooler bag, which has proved to be a highly sought after feature. They are large enough to fit frozen pizza’s and have a small Velcro to keep the bag closed on your drive home.
- The largest bag has our favorite option which is our secure egg and wine compartments.
- We designed our bags so that shoppers can velcro them directly to the cart handle. For other bags the cart has to have a hook to put them on (and most do not).
Q:What’s the advantage of being on Amazon?
A: Amazon has provided a valuable platform to launch our brand throughout the United States. Their reach is unmatched. And with Amazon Prime, customers can get their product in just two days. Many times, even the next day. The convenience of shopping at home has become a part of everyday life.
Q: What pushed you to become an entrepreneur?
A: From a very young age, I had a business oriented mind. I have always enjoyed learning about finance, business, and entrepreneurship. I enjoy the thrill of starting something from scratch that I am passionate about. My wife, who is a math teacher, also has an entrepreneurial spirit; she left the public-school system and started her own private teaching company. And now I’m fortunate to have her by my side as we co-create Lotus Trolley Bags.
Q: What’s the most important lesson you have learned to date?
A: The biggest risk in life and in business is not taking a risk. The best decision I ever made in business was to work for myself. Starting a business is never easy and the uncertainty is often scary. However, as most entrepreneurs can attest to, it’s exciting, fulfilling and hard to ever go back to working for someone else.
Q: What’s your favorite Carlsbad attraction?
A: Ponto Beach! It’s where I’ve played beach volleyball every week for almost 10 years, and it’s where I met my beautiful wife. We spoke our wedding vows here and it will always be a special place for us.
Lotus Trolley Bags is a member of 1% For the Planet and a portion of each sale goes to charities including the Surfrider Foundation and Plastic Pollution Coalition.
To learn more about Trolley Lotus Bag and see a video demonstration, visit lotustrolleybag.com.