Not just a backpack, a State Bag is a #GiveBackPack. The one-for-one benefit corporation’s mission is donating backpacks fully stocked with school supplies to children living in at-risk neighborhoods across the U.S.
“Back-to-school is our busy season,” said Scot Tatelman, who in 2013 founded the company with his wife, Jacqueline.
On Thursday, State Bags delivered 315 filled backpacks to the Children’s Aid Society in Harlem. A collaboration with Shopbop.com brought the e-tailer’s chief executive officer, Darcy Penick, and fashion director Caroline Maguire, as well as actress Jamie Chung, who stars in Shopbop.com’s marketing efforts for State Bags.
“Shopbop.com purchased a bunch of our bags and has been selling different styles for the last six months,” Tatelman said. “Because we’re a one-for-one company, we said, ‘You guys have bought a lot of bags and we have a lot of bags [put aside] for you for charitable purposes.’”
Tatelman explained that State Bags doesn’t simply go into schools and drop off boxes of backpacks. “We put on events with ‘Pacmen’ and ‘Pacwomen,’ who were in similar situations, and are motivational speakers. The Shopbop team of about 80 people stormed the room with the backpacks. The energy was incredible.”
The Tatelmans, who started a nonprofit summer camp for kids in Brooklyn, got the idea for State Bags after seeing campers carrying all their necessities in trash bags. “We were very focused on our mission, but we quickly learned that if the product isn’t cool and people don’t want it, nobody’s going to get much from the mission. We’ve focused on the product for the last two years. People really love it now.”
“State Bags is a relatively new partner for Shopbop.com,” Penick said. “Backpacks have been a trend for the last couple of seasons. We loved the story and the message. We brought Jamie on board to reinforce the message and call attention to State Bags. This is our first time doing an event of this sort, but it won’t be our last. We really enjoyed supporting State Bags’ mission.”