Beeeeep. Alarm goes off. Running late, again. Brush teeth. Throw hair in a top knot. Floral blouse with simple jeans. Hop into the kitchen. Pack a quick lunch. Throw it in some miscellaneous paper bag with handles. Fill up the water bottle. Pour coffee in your to-go mug. Grab purse. Forget phone. Grab phone. Fit a book and laptop tightly under your arm. Keys. Car. Go.
Ever feel like your hands are full? (Here’s to you, mamas!) Well, I may not be a mother, but I still find myself juggling an armful of things each time I run out the door. Being plant-based and attempting to live a more zero-waste lifestyle means I regularly have some form of snack, water bottle, and coffee mug in my hand while I’m on the go. When I head out the door, I’m typically gone for hours, so I like to have everything I could need handy (hello makeup bag for a last minute invite to happy hour with your gals!)
With all this in mind, I’d been on the hunt for a catch all bucket bag to meet my minimalist bag lady needs. I have literally been toting around the same thrifted, leather, cross body purse for the past 4+ years. It was time for a practical upgrade.
Now, where to begin? There’s an array of incredible, ethical totes available. To avoid buying something I sorta liked but didn’t love, I spent months eye shopping. I avoided that little click to purchase button because I just didn’t feel confident about which bag I wanted to invest in for the long term. Flash sales and promotions left me questioning big and small totes of every color you can imagine. Luckily, I held my ground and simply waited.
The thing is, I’d been pondering FASHIONABLE‘s Mamuye Leather Tote for nearly a year now. That’s right, a year! It truly felt like my dream everything bag. The simple shape and style, the rich color, the practical size. In case you weren’t aware, FASHIONABLE is an accessory brand working to alleviate poverty for good through lasting job security:
To be clear, FASHIONABLE is not a social model of business that gives something away. We believe that the end to generational poverty will come when people are able to provide for themselves. We believe that social businesses whose aim is to alleviate poverty should use their business skills to create job opportunities for the poor, not give them more charity. What we seek to “give” to those living in poverty is opportunity by purchasing goods from them, and helping those businesses grow and employ more. Our business model is not creating goods in a strong economic country, selling those goods in the West, and then giving charity to developing countries. This still leaves the developing country out of the opportunity for economic growth, and keeps them in a cycle of dependency. We believe in doing the manufacturing in the communities we wish to impact, creating jobs along the way. Although it often creates a unique set of challenges, trade with developing countries is an empowerment model that we are committed to.
You’re probably curious why I didn’t just buy the bag? Well, let’s get real: it’s expensive. It’s a huge investment. I’m not one to pretend that I have some form of limitless spending budget (remember my debt free story? Read it here!) So, as much as I love the Mamuye option, I kept waiting and looking, hoping to find a piece that was a bit more affordable.
Months later, my friend Jella from The Humble Bee Society posted that in the last year and a half, she has used her Mamuye Tote at least 500 times. Hello example of long term, multi-season, everyday use! That was the little push I needed to make my investment. Was it worth it? Heck yes. I’ve only owned this bag for a few weeks, but already, I use it for everything.
Everyday Carry All
Whether I’ll only be out for a few hours or gone all day, my Mamuye Tote fits everything I could need. Phone, keys, wallet, books, journal, laptop, flowers, makeup, scarf, sunnies: you get my point. Heck, you could use it as a gym bag if you wanted! The options are truly endless.
The Travel Tote
If you’ve been around this space for long enough, you’ll notice my husband and I love traveling. Whether it’s across the ocean or a few hours away, adventure is constantly calling our name. For those weekend trips, it’s wonderful to have a bag large enough to throw a few garments, shoes, and toiletries in. If you’re headed on a longer vacation, this tote works wonderfully as a carry on for your snacks, water, books, and laptop.
Thrifted Treasures Transporter
Moment of honesty: I love thrift shopping. Some find it odd, others think it’s gross, and I’m here like why!? Something about that treasure hunt gets me all giddy. Similar to buying secondhand, I love consigning clothes! No better way to make sure your pre-loved garments don’t end up in a landfill. Having this Mamuye bag to tote around the pieces I’m selling or to pack my secondhand finds in has been crazy helpful. I love versatility and this bag is all about it.
Grocery Bag Upgrade
How many times have you forgotten to bring your reusable grocery bags? HOW MANY TIMES!? Guilty hand here. I don’t usually plan an entire outing for my grocery trips, but end up stopping by the store on my way home from work. Therefore, I often walk out of the store with my purchases in hand (I try to avoid grocery store bags as much as possible!) This Mamuye Tote has been a incredibly helpful for moments such as these. Now I don’t bat an eyelash when the clerk asks if I brought my bags. I simply hand over my large tote and fill it up. Easy!
If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect catch all tote, I couldn’t more enthusiastically recommend this find. Just for transparency’s sake, this post was not sponsored by FASHIONABLE. Nope, nada, no way. I simply love this brand’s quality products and their mission of empowerment.