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Nina’s Flying Needle

If you’ve ever worried about your family’s paper towel consumption, Ziploc bag habit or your children’s addiction to individually wrapped granola bars, you’re not alone.

Our impact on the environment and the prevalence of plastics is ever growing and it’s easy to wonder if and how you can ever make a change . . . right before you give up and put a peanut butter sandwich in a plastic bag.

But Nina Wolfe is here to give you hope. “If you start thinking too much, you’ll paralyze yourself, and you won’t start,” she says. “You just need to find a simple starting point, and make one change. One baby step at a time.”

Wolfe and her husband, Sean, and three kids, Connor (10), Nora (7) and Claire (4) moved back to Annapolis five years ago after her husband transitioned out of the Navy. She started noticing how many snacks they went through during the day. “It just started adding up, the amount of plastic we started using. So I started making little reusable bags for my own kids.”

Wolfe learned to sew as a child. “I learned it in fifth grade. Growing up in Germany, we had to take it for a couple of years, so I was properly taught how to sew,” she says.

After a bit of sewing bags for friends and family, as well as clothes for her little girls, Wolfe took her hobby and turned it into a business—Nina’s Flying Needle. “It was kind of a fluid transition, two and a half years ago [when I opened the business],” she says. “I had more and more people saying, ‘Oh I want one of those!’ ”

Now, after several years in business, Nina’s Flying Needle offers a variety of reusable snack and storage bags (from snack to gallon sizes), produce bags, napkins, wet bags (great for wet swim suits or pump parts), reusable tote bags (reversible!), and a few clothing items, including neck warmers (think scarf, but more hip).
Wolfe’s bags are made with high-quality cotton. “I try to purchase from other small shop owners,” Wolfe says, “but a lot of them are just designer cotton brands, which I know don’t fade or deteriorate.”IMG 3231lr

The inside liners, according to her website, are “made from 100-percent food-safe, waterproof, formaldehyde-free, lead free, BPA free PUL fabric.” Plus, she uses all YKK zippers, which are certified lead free. Her products are CPSC Safety compliant as well, ensuring materials are safe for consumables and children’s products.

“Every single item I make has a specific number that will tell you when it was made, and tell me what exact materials I used for it and where I got them from,” says Wolfe. “So if there’s ever a recall, they’ll alert me, and I can send you a message that they’re not safe.”

Quality means a lot to Wolfe. “It was important to me that in doing this I make sure that I at least offer something I stand behind. And everything I sell, we have used ourselves for years.”

In addition to quality of craftsmanship and materials, Nina’s Flying Needle bags come in fun, exciting patterns that kids and adults will love. “I never have 30 or 40 bags in one print, so I like the fact that most of them are very individualized and the kids are very proud to have them and excited to have a snack out of their bag.”

“I’ve tried ordering other bags and am always disappointed. Nina’s bags are made with impeccable skill and care,” says Cynthia Bolin, a frequent customer. “It’s also amazing to know I’m supporting a fellow mom in our area.”

Wolfe encourages people to “greenify” a part of their lives, whether it’s breaking your paper towel habit, or buying her reusable snack bags for your kiddos lunch boxes, noting that, “eliminating these products will make not just an environmental difference, but one on your own pockets.”

But if you’re not ready, or haven’t the time just yet to make a big change, she adds, “We’re all just moms. Do not make yourself feel bad or guilty about it.”

If you’re ready to outfit the kids (or yourself) with a fashionable, fun alternative to single use bags, check out ninasflyingneedle.com.

—Ann Levelle

 Top Photo by DANIE Photography

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