How to Give Back This Holiday Season

How this New York brand is changing the one-for-one business model

This might be a lofty claim, but this year it’s become, dare we say, almost cooler to carry a backpack than a purse. That trend, in large part, is thanks to a company called STATE. Started by husband and wife duo Scot and Jacq Tatelman, the label has been impacting underprivileged youth all over the United States, with roots starting here in New York City.

The Brooklyn-based couple wanted to build around the one-for-one model companies have used overseas — but this time bring it home. And that’s exactly what they did. First, by starting a foundation (more on that in a minute) and then, by founding STATE, a company with the concept of donating one school-supply filled backpack to a child in need for every backpack purchased.

In 2009, Scot and Jacq founded the Country Roads Foundation, a nonprofit organization sending underprivileged New York City kids to summer camp. It was after spending some time with Country Roads — and seeing New York City children carrying their belongings around in trash bags — that the idea for State crystalized. The bags are delivered to kids at motivating, energy-filled events called Bag Drops from New York to Miami, Los Angeles to Chicago. Their events are star-studded but meaningfully so — at the Los Angeles stop of their “STATE Rocs the Nation Tour” DJ Mustard was introduced to a room of super-stoked kids at 42nd Street Elementary School, his alma mater.

“We don’t just send product and hope that it gets in the right hands,” Scot Tatelman told Forbes. “We get a DJ and speakers who have grown up in communities we are serving and set the tone to inspire the kids and the communities we are visiting. We try to light a spark, and put role models in front of them, to change the state of mind. For us it’s all about getting them to understand that they can beat the odds that are standing against them.”

And that’s what sets STATE apart from the rest. It’s rare to see a company oriented around homecoming, around community, around what’s right in front of us. Cools is very excited to be collaborating with STATE, and just in time for the festive season — what better time to give back. It doesn’t hurt that STATE’s bags are as progressive fashion-wise as they are socially. They’ve even translated Star Wars into a sleek, futuristic look. Other bags sparkle and shine, from the mint Mini Lorimer to the quilted silver Kane bag.  

STATE has the makings of an all-American company, and as you do your holiday shopping this year, you can feel extra warm knowing that you’re giving a bag long-lasting and stylish, while also doing some good. Your purchase extends beyond, even, donating one for one. STATE has also launched social-oriented initiatives that strive to change the narrative around hot-button issues via their series #WhatDoWeTellTheKids. Topics addressed so far range from a short film seeking to change how we talk about violence in Chicago and another film by Emmy-winning director Kat Misko asking why we still use the R word when it’s so hurtful to so many.

The holidays can be filled with stresses big and small — whose house do we spend Christmas at? What do I get for so-and-so? But sometimes, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. STATE and Cools have got you covered this holiday season — you’ll be paying it forward while giving back.


Mini Lorimer



Bijou Large Crossbody



Franklin Duffel


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