Handmade Gift Feature, GIVEAWAY & Promo from Reclamation Dept. ~ Diane's Vintage Zest!

Handmade Gift Feature, GIVEAWAY & Promo from Reclamation Dept.

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!  Do you plan on heading out for Black Friday?  Well, if you do, I highly suggest that you spend a few minutes reading this great interview with Heather before heading out!  Both Heather and her sister Casey (who is modeling a few items in the pictures below) of Reclamation Department, are ridiculously talented and use my favorite kind of materials in much of their work: upcycled!  Not only are they repurposing, each of the materials has an awesome history.  Just read through the interview to find out about a few of them!

Not only do you get to see some of their creative items below, they are offering BOTH a giveaway of one of their awesome bags and a promo code for you, which is good until February 2014!


Tell me a little bit about yourself!

My sister Casey and I (Heather Filbey) took over the Reclamation Dept in April of this year.  Our amazingly talented friends, Mychelle and Ben, started it in 2010, then passed the torch to “the Filbey Sisters” when they decided to go travel the world.  Ben built the vending cart from a vintage bicycle and reclaimed wood, Mychelle sewed fabulous purses out of reclaimed big-rig truck innertube rubber and together they established accounts, ran their Etsy shop and traveled to many different Art and Craft shows to peddle their wares.  Casey apprenticed under Mychelle and Ben for about a year, and I am a fashion design student with a lot of sewing experience, so when the couple decided they didn’t want to run the business any longer, it was a very clean transition.

Casey and I are best friends and we love working together.  We have very different personalities- Casey is much more free spirited and whimsical where I am more practical and business minded, but our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other and make for a well-rounded operation.

-98 Reclamation Dept

Where did the name of your store come from?

Mychelle and Ben had a warehouse workspace in the industrial area of Long Beach.  You would never know by looking at the outside of the building that there was this incredible art operation going on inside.  They started calling it the Reclamation Dept because it sounded so official, like they were in charge of some government operation to find ways to use the junk that is piling up in the landfills.

Why did you start making goods for Reclamation Dept?

Casey and I started making goods for Reclamation Dept when Mychelle and Ben left the country.  We were thrilled to have to opportunity to keep their vision alive and to build upon it in our own way.

-100 Reclamation Dept

What is your favorite item?

My favorite item right now is the vintage German bread bag purse and bicycle pannier.  It is a beautiful blue grey color with black leather accents.  We add a detachable black leather shoulder strap and slider snaps so you can attach it to your bicycle back rack, and we add a few layers of big-rig innertube rubber to the bottom to stiffen the bag so that the canvas doesn’t get caught in the spokes while you ride.  This is my favorite because it is such a cute purse to begin with and the fact that it easily snaps right onto your bike rack makes it amazing.

What is your most popular item?

Our most popular item is our Vintage Swiss Bread Bag Pannier/Shoulder Bag.  We refashion Swiss soldier’s rations bags into panniers for your bicycle that can be worn as a shoulder bag when you are done riding.  They have a thick vinyl back that surrounds a canvas pouch and leather accents.

-99 Reclamation Dept

Where do you get the inspiration for your work?

Casey and I are both inspired and fascinated by history and antiquity. We are strongly motivated to find ways to bring new life to old or discarded items- turning trash into treasure!  We feel good about the fact that most of the materials we use to make our products would have otherwise ended up in a landfill or lie dormant in a military storage facility.

What makes your store unique?

We often joke about how our store has a “Rosie the Riveter” vibe.  If you were to peek into our workshop, you would see one of us sewing on one of the vintage industrial sewing machines (We just got a new industrial Singer from 1939!) and the other hammering hardware on the anvil.

-101 Reclamation Dept

What is the toughest part about making your goods/your artistic process?

I’d have to say that the toughest part about the whole process is managing the growth and balancing it with the other areas of our lives.

Do you take custom orders?

We did at first but we don’t anymore unless it is just a minor modification to something that we already do.

-Reclamation Dept Collage 2

When is the last day I can order in time for Christmas Day?

December 20th

Where can I see more of your work and buy a gift?

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/reclamationdept
Instagram: @reclamationdept

-107 Reclamation Dept


I obviously love the vintage-industrial vibe, so any and all of their creations are totally on my wishlist!  Now, for the details of the giveaway!

Heather and Casey are going to gift a Swiss Salt and Pepper handlebar/hip bag to one of my lucky readers!  Just follow the instructions below in the Rafflecopter widget that loads.  Please be patient because it takes a while OR click on the link that says "a Rafflecopter giveaway."  My bicycle is going to be sooo jealous of your bicycle...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, Heather and Casey are providing a special promo code to my readers to receive $10 off a purchase of $20 or more.  Yay!  Just enter VINTAGEZEST at checkout and use it before the code expires on February 1st, 2014.

Happy shopping!

-103 Reclamation Dept


  1. I like the Acorn Canister Necklace. Thank you for the chance.

  2. I Like the Swiss Military bike bag

  3. They are all wonderful! Good luck!

  4. I like the Swiss bike pannier. Thanks to all of you! FYI... I can't see the Rafflecopter widget (using Firefox). I had to use the link.

  5. British Military Bicycle Panniers – Set of 2

  6. I think what you do is awesome. And totally love the bike bag

  7. The Handlebar is perfect for me!

  8. I love the Swiss Military Panniers - really though, all of this stuff is totally fierce & I would LOVE to own it.

  9. This would be awesome for all of my tools. Love your stuff. Going to check out your Etsy store.

  10. I love the British Military style!

  11. love the handlebar bag-my top pick

  12. I really dig the handlebar bag. I'm got a small person on the back of my bike and panniers often get in the way.

  13. That handlebar bag will look amazing on my bike.

  14. Swiss or British, that's a toughie. I like the British style, but I like the color of the Swiss bag.

  15. i like the british military bags

  16. emmevon(at)gmail(dot)com

    i love the andlebar bags!

  17. I like the British style panniers best! (Rafflecopter name is Sandy Hardman)

  18. I love the Swiss military panniers!

  19. Great selection! I like the Classic Backpack - Khaki

  20. I like the
    Military Bicycle Handlebar Bag

  21. My favorite is he british style.

  22. I love the various shoppes. Reclaimed Wood has beautiful furniture and tech cases.

  23. Adore (!) the British Military Bicycle Panniers. The boxy shape appeals to me visually, and the roominess would be perfect for school days and swap meet shopping. The way they can detach and be worn as messenger bags is brilliant and very convenient.

  24. I'm in love with these!!!!! Oh my gosh..the Swiss Military Bicycle Panniers is my favorite but that was really hard to choose.


  25. My favorite is the Gold collection- I love the fish bone earrings, the Marquee arrow and the warm vanilla body scrub.

  26. favourite is the bike handle bar bag

  27. Thanks for the giveaway! This is such a cute website. I really like the Dream a Little Dream Letterpress print!

  28. I like the Zoe Wool-Blend Knit Cowl


I love to hear your comments! And putting in your two cents is always free. :)