Welcome to Shop Knickerbocker - your newest go-to for exceptional, artisanal handbags! My name is Kelly Knickerbocker. Born and raised in L.A.. Why am I here? I'm here for you!
I believe in finding great products, helping people feel and look beautiful, and supporting our global brothers and sisters who are hurting and in need. I believe we are created to design and celebrate beauty in all that we do. And I believe we can do this in a way that also creates economic opportunity and fair employment!
After college, I decided to move to Hong Kong and work for a nonprofit focused on scalable poverty reduction in Asia, more specifically in the Philippines. In those two years, I worked for and alongside the millions classified as “ultrapoor,” learning how they lived and struggled to support their families with the little they have. I was repeatedly amazed by those with an entrepreneurial spirit - those who started (or wanted to start) small businesses and create locally-inspired products. Starting a business has been a dream of mine ever since I can remember, and I often found myself thinking how I could partner with these under-resourced businessmen and women. Three years later, I still do.
Since leaving Hong Kong, I helped start a company called THRED Journal, whose mission is to foster deeper relationships and community through social journals. In 2018 alone, we've sold over 42,000 journals and thousands of high-quality leather covers in partnership with social enterprisers' Parker Clay (look them up, they’re awesome). It’s been one of the most fun, wild rides to see great products change lives and lift people out of poverty at the same time.
That brings me to the present.
On a recent trip to Da Nang, Vietnam for a friend’s wedding, I explored over 25 street businesses selling handbags. I’ve been in many similar shopping districts but something was different about this day. Something about the people. Speaking to many of them, I was both impressed with and struck by their business savvy amidst the clear poverty they lived in. One woman in particular stuck out - a lovely mother named Phong. Despite an hard, challenging life, she uses her gift of creativity to make beautiful products to support her family.
This very bag is one of hers!
I'm super excited to share these bags with you. Here at shop knickerbocker, we believe in investing in the enterprising poor. This means not only buying from them. It means re-investing the profits with them.
When you purchase a knickerbocker bag with us, you will help fund an extremely impoverished mother's first micro loan, and unleash her capacity to grow her own business and provide for her children's education and well-being.
Since launching in November 2018, we have sold over 300 bags to launch seven female entrepreneur's businesses successfully in places where extreme poverty and no safety net resides. For these women, this has been life-changing and it's all because of buyers like you.
As our partners at EndPoverty Inc. describe, "By investing in the enterprising poor, you can unlock the potential to transform the most impoverished communities from the inside out".
Thank you so much for reading my story and considering purchasing a knickerbocker bag! Your purchase has incredible purpose.
Want to know more about how these micro loans work? Contact us! We would love to talk with you!
Phong and her daughter