Our love for cool accessories started during the elementary school years (we couldn’t wait to pick out new backpacks). Of course, now it has come back to haunt us — we can’t resist the newest designer purse! But if we were in school now, we would get our backpacks from the same company every year. In addition to having a whole bunch of styles and colors to choose from, Schoolbags for Kids gives back to children in need. We sat down with founders Kalon Gutierrez and Luis Garcia for the inside scoop.
What inspired you to start Schoolbags for Kids?
Luis took a four-month career break and traveled through thirteen counties, teaching in schools and orphanages throughout. Everywhere he went, the kids were in need of schoolbags and supplies. He returned home to tell me about his travels and we decided to create a kids’ backpack and accessories company that addressed this significant need.
How are these backpacks different from others on the market?
Our backpacks have a unique patent pending lateral design, which allows weight to sit above a child’s waist and be distributed more evenly. They also hold laptops and/or tablets and feature wider straps and plenty of pockets. We even feature a customizable ID badge that can be uploaded from our website. http://schoolbagsforkids.com/t-badge.aspx
How exactly does the process work?
For every backpack sold, a schoolbag with supplies will be donated to a child in need. Supplies have ranged from notebooks and pencils to English language books. Thus far, we have donated over 2500 schoolbags across six countries (India, Thailand, Belize, Haiti, South Korea and Rwanda). We hope to cover the globe with donations!
Which countries need the most help getting school supplies to their kids?
Worldwide, 101 million kids don’t attend school. For many it’s due to the high cost of tuition, uniforms, and school supplies. So the need is truly large and spread across the world.
Tell us one personal story that has inspired you to keep the company going.
In our early days I donated schoolbags and supplies to a volunteer-run school in Belize. The schoolbags were actually held until the end of the school year and donated to the top academic performers, helping to ensure that they could afford to attend the following year. Come to find out, 600 kids were on the waitlist to get into that one school alone.