Oh, back in those days when we moms were footloose and giant purse-free. All that was needed for an afternoon out was a small bag (or even no purse at times) with just the essentials. Well, most of us still carry the essentials, but yikes! That list of what’s needed has changed…along with the size of our purses!

We call these useful pieces of almost luggage “mom bags”.  In the early years, they have to hold the wipes, the diapers, the bottles, the extra change (or two or three) of onesies. As the diaper phase passes by, soon we’re lugging around snacks, Band-Aids, coloring books, crayons and random sticks, rocks and leaves that were entrusted to our care.

With all that gear to hold, a well-designed mom bag is a necessity (and what some might call a “necessary evil”.) But what if that mom bag could become even more, could be an accessory that brings about social change to help other women? Then when you spend your money on the bag, you’re doing so much more than purchasing a useful purse: you’re helping another mom earn income, work her way out of poverty, care for her family, gain dignity.

And wait! That’s not all. Purchasing these bags is a good opportunity to teach your children about poverty, about materialism, about using money as a tool to help others. They’re an opportunity to practice intentional parenting!

Today we’re going to highlight several mom bags, from small to large, both from our social Enterprise and from other “Made in the USA” brands that produce bags which do good. Here’s the list!

  • The Carpet Bag ($25): It’s roomy,  it’s simple, it’s upcycled. The Carpet Bag from our Persona Grata collection was sewn in part by moms in Burundi. It was then shipped to North Carolina, and moms in our employment project finished up the purse production process. This bag is simple and not for for those that need a highly organized interior. But if what you need is room, then this bag has it!
  • The Social Justice Wristlet ($20): This Denim & African Print knot bag is a small, practical wristlet! While some wristlets are just wallets with a handle, this little bag has a pocket for your phone, holds a small wallet, keys, checkbook, pens, & even a snack or two. It features 1 of 3 quotes on the handle to remind us moms of what life is all about. Put the mom essentials in, and then when you’re heading out on your own, just grab the wristlet out of your larger purse. Plus, this bag helps fund our employment project for refugee women in Charlotte.
  • Peace of Thread Multi-Colored Crossbody ($85):Peace of Thread is a not-for-profit organization that empowers women who have come to the United States seeking refuge from war, persecution & poverty. They handmake  one of a kind purses using top-of-the-line, up-cycled fabrics. This particular bag features a crossbody strap (gotta love hands free!) and a roomy interior with plenty of pockets to keep stuff organized.
  • Upcycle Life Messenger Bag ($34): Ever had a purse full of stuff turn upside down in the minivan? Yeah, we have too. That’s one reason we’re fans of this Messenger Bag. Sturdy fasteners keep your mom bag contents safe, plus with several big pockets, you can carry a laptop or tablet along with your other mom related gear. And the adjustable straps allow you to use it as a crossbody or shoulder bag, however the mood hits.
  • Better Life Bags Scout Purse ($184):  It’s a backpack, a stroller bag, or a bike bag, all rolled into one! We love this versatile and high-quality mom bag from Detroit-based Better Life Bags. When you buy a purse, you’re helping them further their mission to hire and gainfully employ women who have various barriers to employment. The women are mentored and given a chance to succeed in life, family, and friendship.

And that’s our first Mom Bag roundup! Do you know of other US-based social enterprises that produce bags and support moms coming out of poverty? Share them in the comments section and we might feature them in our next roundup!

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