The story behind our new RR, CA custom tote from Apolis

“Your purchase helps shape the kind of world we live in.”

These are words near and dear to the founding ethos behind Rancho Relaxo. We are honored to partner with Apolis to create our RR, CA custom jute market tote.

The modern consumer has a heightened awareness around product that is “hand-made”. What is curious about this moniker is that EVERYTHING, including product made by machines in a factory, requires a human hand in the process of designing, making and distributing. Reading about the supply chain in the news feed amplifies this point. At every stage there is a human moving product along from concept to design to production to distribution. There is a lot of heavy lifting.

Where I believe the fashion and apparel and manufacturing industries have suffered is in the perception that it is inherently corrupt or inscrutable or lacking transparency. Every human wears clothes, but how often do we think about what it takes to get the clothes on your back actually made.

Apolis set out to use the manufacturing industry to harness the power of business to create social change. They call this model Advocacy Through Industry: the basic principle that people can live better lives when they are given equal access to the global marketplace. 

At Rancho Relaxo we believe people are more alike than different. This principle is core to Apolis and their mission to create bags for global citizens:

We believe that the commonality between currencies, flags and languages is people. It is people who are the innovators, the advocates, and the revolutionaries. Apolis is a small group of social entrepreneurs who believe that the most valuable practice in creating lasting change is by investing in people.

To this end, every market bag is handcrafted in Bangladesh by hundreds of mothers who receive Fair Trade-certified wages, annual profit dividends, and a retirement fund. The bags are then shipped to Los Angeles where they are custom printed (by hand).

Focusing on the humans behind the factory is how Apolis demonstrates the potential of business to bring about social change. This is a powerful force given that the garment industry is the largest employer in many developing countries.

More than anything, this bag is beautiful. And cool.

The guiding principle behind this tote resonates with me so completely:

We believe in fun, freedom, and being happy at every moment, so we designed fashionable, long-lasting market bags designed to live with you and your family through every occasion.

Yes, lets make all of life’s moments beautiful and thoughtful. And knowing that lives have been impacted for the better with this movement puts a smile on my face: the most stunning accessory of them all!