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State Bags

Yale senior Nina Kempner is a new brand ambassador for the inspiring and trendy STATE BAGS company, which mixes fashion with philanthropy. In addition to creating gorgeous backpacks and bags, and partnering with none other than Beyoncé (!), STATE is a Benefit Corporation that materially and positively impacts society through a mentor program and material donation for American children in need.

How did you get involved in STATE bag company and why?

I first heard about STATE bags in September through my sister. She just recently started her own fashion line, and works in the same office building as STATE. She was raving about their backpacks as well as their partnership with Beyonce and her BEYGOOD movement. In January, she connected me with Scot, the co-founder of STATE, to be a part of their College STATE Agents Program. There are 20 college students trying to promote not only STATE’s name and products, but also their mission to help U.S. students in need. They have done such great work, and have sold thousands of backpacks. In doing so, they have made a difference in a countless of kids lives. I knew I wanted to be apart of something that was making a difference. 

What is the history behind it STATE bags? What are their inspirations and mission?

Six years ago, Scot and Jacqueline Tatelman created Camp POWER- a nonprofit summer camp for hundreds of kids growing up in some of the most violent, underfunded neighborhoods in the country. They noticed that many of the kids arriving, were carrying their belongings in garbage bags. Scot and Jacq realized that despite how many companies and programs have been working relentlessly on helping causes abroad, kids in the United States need help as well. This desire to help them was what launched STATE.

STATE’s mission is to serve American kids in need through their innovative Give Back Pack Program, which amplifies the “buy one, give one” model with a more local, long-form approach. For each bag sold, STATE hand-delivers one to an American child in need—whether he or she is growing up in an at-risk neighborhood, homeless, undergoing cancer treatment, or living with special needs. STATE goes beyond a simple material donation; their bags are delivered through motivational rallies, led by role-model figures in their STATE PackMen/Women mentor program. These mentors inspire kids to do great things for themselves as well as the community around them! 

What differentiates STATE bags from other similar products, and how are they unique?

What is incredible about STATE bags is that they are for a good cause, yet are stylish! I have always wanted a backpack that was more fashionable yet practical…but could never find one. However, STATE bags are the solution to my problem! During the day, I am constantly on the move and never have the ability to go back to my apartment; therefore, I always have to carry everything I need for the day with me. My new STATE backpack allows me to carry a variety of things while also siting comfortably on my back. What is also great about their products is the diversity in styles and colors. Bags range from athletic, casual backpacks to more stylish bags, appealing to many different types of people. 

What is your favorite bag/? How would you style the bags in an outfit?

I recently purchased the black Mercer bag, and I am obsessed with it! The bag is made of a waxed cotton canvas exterior and has black leather straps—which is pretty bad-ass! This has updated my school/street style as it goes with everything I wear. I will mostly be seen in this horrible weather with booties, black jeans, tons of layers, a hat, and of course my STATE backpack. Recently, it’s the only part of my outfits I’ve been getting complements on, and I’ll take it! 

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