Auctioning wallets – made out of rice bags!

I got a lift from Nyoman, my tailor, to Villa Gaia, a beautiful retreat centre just outside Ubud, where, courtesy of the Holistic Business Network, a group of us watched a documentary on sustainable living.

Auroville, in India, had been changed from sandy desert, that became flooded each monsoon, into a green landscape where nearly 2000 people live together from 35 different countries.

They’re using green technology from grass roots right up to their buildings and eco-systems.

After the film we were encouraged to spend a few minutes talking to someone in the room who we hadn’t met before and sharing with them: what we do, how we connect to the environment and each other and what makes us happy – nice topics eh!

Recycled rice bags
Recycled rice bags

For me, the answer was mainly about wanting to share my poetry about Bali, running meditation sessions and building my house.  Behind these aspects is my desire to be a ‘link’ between the east and the west – a bridge.

Being encouraged to talk about such things with complete strangers, who also happen to be like-minded people, was an excellent networking opportunity – and then the evening got even better….

Glen, who owns Villa Gaia, was highlighting special bags that were available that can hold the large water containers that we use here in Bali.  If you bought one, you got another one free to give to a Balinese – great!

Then I couldn’t resist talking about something, very grass roots, that had occurred on my way to the Villa.

Rice bag wallets

Rice bag wallets

I had just bought from Nyoman, who had driven me there, a wallet that his wife had made out of… a rice bag!

I took another one into the film night to see if I could sell it for Nyoman – a family man who hadn’t sold anything else, or had any other ‘transport’ customers for two days.

Now these wallets are really well made and designed.  They are decorative and colourful on the outside and have velcro clasps that open up the wallet with space for credit cards as well as notes – just like a normal wallet/purse – but inside you can clearly see that it is made from a rice bag.

Well Rick, who runs Namaste, where I get to watch spiritual films, obviously loved the idea of directly helping a Balinese to sell these rice bag wallets and he immediately suggested auctioning them to the group…

It was tense… the bidding started at 20,000 rupiah (about £1.35) and rapidly went up and up until it reached a whopping 150,000 rupiah (just over £10 which is a lot of money for Nyoman) for the two wallets!!!

The highest bidder, Colleen, met Nyoman the next day and gave him the money directly, she was so impressed she is going to try and take some to England to sell for him.

If you are in town and want to buy a rice bag wallet for the ‘normal’ price, as opposed to the price it reached at auction, please let me know and I will put you in touch with Nyoman (oh yeah, he has wonderful brightly coloured shopping bags too – also made of converted rice bags!).

Rice bags become eco-friendly shopping bags

Rice bags become eco-friendly shopping bags

Even better, if you have a retail outlet and can buy them from him in bulk that would be really cool (since writing these words Anthony at Alchemy and Johnny at Soma have already expressed interest).

Meanwhile, thanks also to Glen, Rick, Sandy etc., for the film night which sparked this whole thing off.

Don’t you just love seeing sustainability put into action 🙂

Leave a comment


  1. Verena

     /  11/05/2018

    Hi Julie,
    I like the recycled shopping bags made of rice bags! I have a small business in Switzerland and Iike the style & the sustainable idea. Do you have different designs, models & what is the wholesale price?
    Thanks for your details.
    Best regards,

    • Hi Verena, thanks for your interest in these, although please note that this is not me… it is Nyoman who makes and sells them. I therefore need to speak to Nyoman and check what he is doing now

    • Hi Verena please provide your email address.
      Thank you

      • Hi Verena, please advise if you are seriously interested? If so, please let me have your email address. Nyoman is so excited and he plans to visit me bringing samples of his stock. But I don’t want to raise his hopes too high if I still dont hear back from you

    • Hi Verena, it’s now been more than a month since you originally contacted me about this, but as I haven’t had any replies from you I’m guessing that you’re no longer interested, so I will let Nyoman know.

  2. Judith

     /  08/02/2015

    Hi Julie,
    At the moment our company works mainly with batik products, but we explore the possibility to ad products made from rice sacks. Can you make other products then the bags and wallets? Can you please send me an email so we can discuss further?
    Kind regards, Judith (
    Note: Next week i am in Bali..

  3. Kerri Matulich

     /  27/11/2014 ….Sorry still not sure if I will be in Ubud today.

  4. Kerri Matulich

     /  26/11/2014

    Thank you Julie, I have already left Ubud 😦 but I may be up again tomorrow I will let you know later today …Can you email me price on both items?

    Thanks You so much for your help,


  5. Kerri Matulich

     /  26/11/2014

    Hi Julie, I’m desperately searching to buy these beautiful wallets & bags before leaving on Sunday and the lovely Rick & Lita have given me your name ..Can you help me _/|\_

    • Hi Kerri
      Thanks so much for your interest in these… my friend Nyoman makes them.

      Are you in Ubud? If so maybe you would like to meet him first to discuss what you need – he can then make them to order for you.

      He will be in Ubud from 2pm today and you can meet him here for convenience if you like. What time is good for you?

  6. Hi, I have a gift shop in NSW, Australia and looking at opening another shop in QLD shortly. I am importing quite a few items from Bali and have a container leaving in a couple of weeks. I would like to buy some of these wallets and bags in bulk they are very cool. Thanks. Regards

    • Hi Debbie
      Thanks for your interest in Nyoman’s wallets and bags (he also makes them into bags for yoga mats too).

      If you are here in Ubud then I can introduce you to Nyoman and you can make the arrangements between you.

  7. Hi Julie,

    I also live in Bali and would love to be in touch with Nyoman. We have a gathering in June 2013 and I’d like to see about buying a bunch for the attendees.



    • Hi Daniel
      Thanks for contacting me about this… I have just replied directly to your email address.


Would love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: