Thousands of people packed Balboa Park Sunday for EarthFair 2014. According to organizers, the event is the largest free annual environmental fair in the world, drawing an average of 60,000 people.
Hundreds of them were exhibitors, including El Cajon resident Tess Valencia. She turns Caprisun packets into purses, wallets and even backpacks.
“I made one little party bag for my daughter's birthday, and a friend came over and saw them and said, ‘God, that's so nice!' [Now] my bags are all over the world. They’re in Chicago, in Europe,” Valencia said.
A few stalls over was yet another green creation. Young entrepreneur Leslie Uke from Poway says her runny nose inspired the HankyBook. She says she was tired of throwing away so much tissue paper and dealing with the apparent stigma surrounding handkerchiefs.
“Everyone just looked at me like I was gross, and I was like, this is really useful actually. It's not unsanitary, but they had that perspective,” Uke said.
Uke sold her first HankyBook at EarthFair four years ago.
“We're in more than 40 stores right now, mostly in Canada. Whole Foods is definitely my like high in the sky destination, and we're working with their North Atlantic region to get into their stores,” Uke said.
EarthFair organizers say exhibitors like Uke and Valencia are the heart of the event. For a full list of exhibitors, click here.