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Trash to Treasure

Products made of unexpected materials showcase creativity.

By April Y. Pennington

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Angela Greene, 45, learned that her backpack's pocketwas made of truck and tractor inner tubes and that local tirecenters offered free discarded inner tubes, she beganexperimenting. With Ken Kobrick, she created handbag prototypes in2001. And in 2004, they founded Richmond, Virginia-based Passchaland landed their bags in the Billboard Music Awards goodiebags.

The conversion of inner tubes to luxurious handbags withcustomizable leather trim and Smartlyte Interior light systems ismiraculous, considering the original farm equipment tubes "aredirty and smell like rotten eggs," according to Greene.Kobrick, 47, proudly mentions that, in addition to boutiques,recycling organizations and automotive and tire stores now carryPasschal. Thebusiness projects 2006 sales of $200,000 and is creating a line ofevening bags with fiber optics, proving they're fearless whenit comes to treading into the unfamiliar.

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