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July 2008
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Interview with Rita Helinger of Bin Hog Designs

Rita Helinger works full-time as a flight attendant and it was her “day” job that gave her the idea for a great new product that she creates and sells in her “spare” time.  Helinger produces luggage handle wraps through her company Bin Hog Designs, that serve the unique purpose of helping travelers to identity their luggage on the carousel at the airport or in the overhead bins on an airplane. 

Helinger has been sewing for about three years and although she started out making the handles herself and then embroidering them, she has now hired a nearby contractor to make the handles for her, then she takes care of the embroidery work on them herself.  Her neat designs include flags for many countries, patriotic designs, hearts, animals, current sayings and my favorite “NOT YOURS” design that clearly lets others know that although your luggage may look familiar it is NOT theirs. 

Helinger says “being a flight attendant and going through many different styles of bag tags, I wanted something that didn’t just ‘hang’ off a handle.  I’d been through many of those regular bag tags only to have then eventually just rip off.   I wanted something that wrapped around the handle, but could stand up to the stress of a frequent traveler.  Many of my first prototypes used decorator and cotton fabrics, but the material was just too thin and got dirty easily.  I finally came across Cordura 1000D nylon fabric and knew this is what I needed.  After an upgrade to a commercial embroidery machine and many prototypes later, we’ve got Bin Hog’s signature item – The embroidered luggage handle wrap.”

Her goals include updating the packaging for her wraps within the next six months, and she is working on getting her product into airport stores within a year.  You can find her unique products at http://www.binhog.com!

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Author, Instructor & Pattern Designer

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