Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.
Full disclosure: I belong to the Po Campo affiliate program. I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase something from Po Campo through a couple of the links in this post.
Po Campo sells “versatile accessories for urban lifestyles,” including bike bags, yoga bags and casual travel bags.
Maria Boustead, founder, owner and “head bag lady” at Po Campo, launched the company in 2009 after becoming frustrated with her bag options for when she biked to work. An avid bicyclist, Maria would resort to bungee cording her handbag to her bike. The typical backpacks and messenger bags she found in stores or online just weren’t her style.
As Maria noticed a growing number of people biking to work, she saw a huge opportunity. Using her industrial design background, she started designing bags that fit her active lifestyle. In the back of her mind, she also knew she wanted to find a nonprofit partner to work with so she could give back with her company.
All of Po Campo’s bags are made with vegan fabrics and are weather-proof, so you don’t have to worry about rain or snow. They also include thoughtfully placed pockets and reflective details for nighttime use. Maria tells me that some of the bags have become popular diaper bags. Po Campo is also known for the beautiful prints they use. Prints like Sky Stripes, for example, that was inspired by summer clouds over Michigan.
As of May 2013, Po Campo also donates bicycles to rural African communities through a partnership with World Bicycle Relief. For every 25 bags Po Campo sells through its online store, a schoolgirl in Africa will get a new bicycle. The bicycles give these girls better access to healthcare, education and economic opportunities.
After seeing an inspiring television segment on happiness, Maria realized it did not make sense to wait until her company made a certain amount of money to partner with a charity. She met the founder of the World Bicycle Relief at a women’s seminar, and the rest is history. Maria says she wants Po Campo to help next generation of girls, giving them the same confidence she was able to enjoy at a young age because of her strong support system. The fact that World Bicycle Relief is based in Chicago, just like Po Campo, and has a strong tie-in with her company was icing on the cake.
Since the partnership with World Bicycle Relief was started, over 20 bikes have been donated. In the future, Maria hopes to share the stories of the girls impacted by those donations.
Maria was nice enough to offer another jennifer readers 15% off with the discount code PoCampo15.
You might consider taking a look at the Bike & Be Free Box that not only includes Po Campo’s popular Six Corners Handlebar Bag, but a Theo Chocolate Bar and a and a Reflective Bird Pin as well!