How This Genius New Bag Line Is Simplifying Travel (and Life) for Busy Mamas
Photos: Kaleido Concepts
While we all probably have our favorite trusty tote, there are some situations that call for a carryall that's a little less just-uncrumpled-from-the-bottom-of-my-bag and a bit more I'm-totally prepared-for-this-sitch. When it comes to traveling, there's nothing more stressful than lugging around your essentials in a paper-thin bag or an overly bulky backpack—and that's where mama-founded startup Kaleido Concepts comes in.
Co-founded by FMSF member Lisa Hom (who also brought us eco-friendly diaper brand Parasol Co) and Anita Yuen, the brand is currently raising funds through its Kickstarter campaign—and if you're looking for convertible carryalls that will keep you organized and look chic, we highly suggest getting in on the action now. Another reason? Kaleido Concepts plans on donating 1% of profits to support global children's literacy and girls' education in order to address gender inequality, eradicate poverty, improve infant mortality rates, and create a more sustainable business.
More about the products: the stylish line of origami-inspired bags are lightweight, made of high quality materials, and expand into full-sized products. Every item can be easily folded into a pouch and stowed within another bag or your pockets, and the initial range includes a backpack (which you'll get with a pledge of $49 or more), a roomy tote bag (pledges of $54 or more), an essentials pouch set (pledges of $40 or more), and a travel bundle (which includes everything for a pledge of $129 or more).
Kaleido also teamed with independent artists to dream up stylish designs for its first round up products, and prints include a pastel brushstroke design by Ashley G., a whimsical swan print by Carolyn Suzuki, and and an abstract navy print by Kelly Ventura—all of which backers can vote on as their favorite.
Here, we chat with Hom to find out more about how motherhood inspired the creation of the brand, where she sees it in five years, her top advice for budding entrepreneurs, and more. Read on below for more, and contribute to Kaleido Concept's Kickstarter campaign now through Wednesday, October 18.
How did you and your co-founder meet/decide to team up?
Anita and I met on the first day of business school at Haas, and became fast friends. She was intrigued by my hip hop dancing skills and I fell in love with her dry sense of humor. Fifteen years later, here we are. Anita comes from an extensive technology and marketing background and has always been fascinated when I talk about product development and manufacturing. Kaleido Concepts was a business that both of us believed in and wanted to build together.
Coming from Parasol, what have your past experiences taught you about launching a new brand?
Building a brand from scratch is hard, there is no easy way to do it! The key to success is reaching the right audience, and finding the consumers who are also willing to be brand advocates. It takes a lot of testing to find the right channels to reach your consumers. And it also takes talking directly to those early adopters to obtain valuable feedback. But when you finally connect with the right audience who “gets” your vision, it is such a rewarding connection!
How do you find the artists to partner with?
I have always loved different styles of print and pattern, so it was difficult to choose which artists to work with when we launched. Ashley G. and I worked together at Parasol Co, where she designed the beautiful patterns for our diapers and wipes. I found Kelly Ventura when I was shopping online for artwork. I contacted her immediately because her work was gorgeous! And I met Carolyn Suzuki at a print licensing show in NY last year, where I fell in love with all her whimsical and colorful designs. As we move forward, I am constantly finding and following new artists on Instagram to work with!
Where do you hope to see the brand in 5 years?
We would love to see this brand continue to grow through a direct to consumer relationship, as well as through key retailers and boutiques that align with the brand. There are so many talented artists out there, we also want to continue bringing newness and fun options to our consumers through these exclusive collaborations.
We also believe in the importance of giving back. Today, nearly 800 million people are illiterate, and two thirds are women and girls. Studies have shown that literacy is critical toeradicate poverty, improve infant mortality rates, address gender inequality, and create sustainable development. So for every sale, we will be donating 1% of profits to support global literacy. We would love to be able continue expanding the give back program over the next five years.
What's your best advice to mothers who are just getting into entrepreneurship?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help (this applies to the business, as well as child care & household maintenance!)
- Network. Network. Network.
- Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you.