IT’S ALL GOOD: In step with its commitment to women and children and its “Be Good to Yourself” brand motto, Andi has donated 300 of its bags to Sanctuary for Families, which helps survivors of domestic violence and gender violence.
Inspired by philanthropic entrepreneurs such as Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycosckie, Andi’s Andrea Weinberg said social responsibility has been part of her game plan from the get-go. “It was our first stab at doing something like this. Stuffing the bags with the volunteers Saturday was probably the best day of my 2017 so far, and I got engaged to the man of my dreams so that’s saying…,” she said.
The consultant Alexandra Ostrow helped Weinberg round up eight volunteers from a Manhattan law firm to load up the bags with BPA-free water bottles, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, lip gloss, lipsticks, deodorant and notebooks with positive affirmations among other items. The Unilever-owned Seventh Generation donated feminine hygiene products.
With distribution in 55 doors such as Equinox, Exhale Spa, Bandier, Carbon38 and Four Seasons gift shops, Andi started indirectly after Weinberg considered the functional shortfallings of umbrellas. Her original plan was to design a waterproof cover for another bag. But the vegan prototype was so “lightweight and wonderful,” Weinberg said she decided, “I just want this to be my bag.” Adhering to the international design firm IDEO’s process of “make, use, refine,” she did just that for four years before launching Andi in August. Her signature bag is now in its 68th reiteration. Each item carries a tag with “Be Good to Yourself.”
“That has so many meanings, and it’s what I fall back to when I feel a little off-kilter. I’ve been inspired by so many people’s stories about how they get through hard times. Giving back is really selfishly one of the nicest things that we can do for ourselves,” Weinberg said.
A similar volunteer event is expected to be held on the West Coast later this year. Finessing environmentally friendly materials and processes for zero waste, and developing a hoodie, are also in the cards, Weinberg said. “My background was in litigation technology sales. It’s much more fun to design transformer handbags,” she said. “Our product is really based around the high-impact New York lifestyle — so lightweight, stays on your shoulder, looks good with everything — work, gym, [outside] or taking your shoes off in Central Park.”