Gotta Bag it up!
STATE bags is making more than a material difference to struggling children in the United States. They are behind a movement to motivate and renew the spirit of disadvantaged youth. STATE hand delivers a bag to a child in need for every bag that is sold through their store. The hand delivery is where the magic really happens.
These donated bags are not only packed full of essential tools for success, they come with a motivational rally lead by Packmen and Packwomen who transform each bag into a symbol of change. An uplifting symbol of possibility and self belief. The Packmen and Packwomen are child development specialists who have risen from at-risk neighbourhoods and found success. They are powerful role models for the children as can be seen in this video where STATE partnered with Jacobson Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, dropping 200 bag to underprivileged kids in Florida.
STATE Bags was founded by husband and wife team, Scot and Jacqueline Tatelman, who describe their company as “a for-profit company with a non-profit pedigree.” They have combined accessible and desirable design, functionality and philanthropy. The success of their business model is amplified by its collaborations, increasing its positive contribution to the community. STATE Bags is an agile company proving ethics and business are perfect partners.
I had the pleasure to pitch some questions to STATE Bags.
- How has collaboration with other ethical orgs helped STATE Bags mission? Eg. BeyGood campaign; The Mark Wahlberg Foundation and The Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, Massachusetts to create Camp Northbound.
Before there were any ideas of building out a company that makes cool bags, our main focus was creating a genuine, impactful social mission, proving that we were about more than just the bottom line. Partnering with Mark Wahlberg’s org in creating Camp Northbound is really where this movement began as it opened our eyes to the need right here in our own backyard. Scot and Jacq – the co-founders of STATE – wanted to duplicate the Camp Northbound model for kids living in underfunded neighborhoods of Brooklyn and teamed up with nonprofits doing remarkable things in neighborhoods of very high need. Following the creation of Camp POWER – which has now served thousands of kids in three of Brooklyn’s most at-risk communities – it fueled the launch of STATE. Watching countless kids arriving at camp with their belongings in trash bags while seeing many socially conscious companies serving kids overseas, Scot and Jacq wanted to do more for local kids growing up in similar situations as both the Camp Northbound and POWER kids. Since launching in January 2013, STATE has donated thousands of bags – packed with the essential tools for success – to kids across the US…thanks in very large part to the nonprofit orgs, charter and public schools we’ve partnered with.
Partnering with Beyonce’s BeyGOOD charitable initiative was our moment to show the world what we do, and how do it differently in our more built out buy one, give one model. Our back to school initiative targeted communities in very high need across six cities, and teamed up with nonprofit organizations, charter and public schools that were going above and beyond for their kids. In less than one month, we hand-delivered thousands of bags through our signature motivational bag drop events and prepared kids with not only the material tools for success – such as new backpacks and school supplies – but the positive role models and messaging to motivate them to chase their goals this school year. Check out this video link, documenting our biggest drop yet on day one of school in Brooklyn for an entire elementary school.
- Your branding and marketing is out of sight with its high quality production values. Who have you worked with to promote the STATE Bags brand and marketing strategy?
It’s been a collaborative effort from the moment we launched. We do much of our branding in house, but have also worked with many, many insanely talented designers and marketing minds.
- How important has fashion and design been in the success of the STATE Bags work?
We’ve quickly learned that if your product can’t stand alone, it won’t sell. Our mission of serving American children in various situations of need is obviously central to so much of what we do, but if we can’t design and produce a bag that people are going to want to wear, we’re nowhere. We need to sell a lotta bags to give a lotta bags, and so much of that starts with how they’re made, how they look and how they feel when you’re wearing them!
- STATE Bags has a core promise with every bag sold, another is given. This ‘one for one’ exchange is a powerful symbol. How do you think symbols of charity like this uplift our community to give through a purchase, where the same consumer may not give a monetary donation to a similar cause?
There seems to be a new wave of consumers who are looking to buy products that have a deeper meaning…which is fantastic on so many levels. One of the things our customers love so much about our get one give one mission is that it’s effortlessly giving back – making that decision to buy a socially conscious product is as simple as buying it…and we do all the rest. It’s really inspiring to see so many people out there choosing to buy products that help other people who they’ve never even met, nor ever will – that’s a beautiful building block to a better world!
- What lessons can charities learn from the ethical business world?
When you have a story to tell, you have to walk that line of balancing that with your product. A lot of socially conscious companies do it perfectly, while others are still trying to find that line. I think nonprofits could learn how for profits position both their product and mission in a really effective way. Some orgs might want to focus more on their story and mission while others may want to showcase their programs and staff. It’s a balancing act, but if played well can really make a difference!
- What lessons can the business world learn from charities?
We are always looking for ways to continually engage and inspire youth we serve beyond our bag drop events. We are frequently looking at models in the nonprofit world that we could use as inspiration as to how our impact could be longer-term in a genuine, ethical manner.
Head over to www.statebags.com and check them out.
Special thanks to Southard Communications for their assistance.