“Fashion is not about utility. An accessory is merely a piece of iconography used to express individual identity”. - The Devil Wears Prada
Within the vast global fashion industry, designers understand the key element to creating a masterpiece— expressing individual identity. Collections bloom from historic traditions or a singular muse. Every tiny detail is imagined, reconsidered and adapted before the handbag you just spotted at Bergdorfs lands itself on the retail floor. You catch a glimpse of this luxe tote as you wander by. Immediately it draws you in. Something about it speaks to you in a way that no other handbag in it’s company does. What is that something? It’s your individual identity and style speaking to you through an accessory. Today you found a handbag that got it right. Everything about it feels right and inspires you. This feeling, this experience of finding your perfect accessory is the key element to why diaper bag companies have got it all wrong.
When I learned I was pregnant with my first child I immediately thought about purchasing a diaper bag. My naive self was overly excited to find that super chic diaper bag which would help retain my fashion-loving sense of self. I already knew motherhood didn’t lend itself easily to looking fabulous but I figured with the right accessories I could be ahead of the curve. I began the diaper bag search at my usual shopping spots— Bloomy’s, Nordstrom, Bergdorf’s. To my dismay the options weren’t what I was expecting. I assumed every designer would have their version of the “stylish mommy bag” but unfortunately that just wasn’t the case. Sure there were a few well-know designers who offered diaper bags, but the aesthetic screamed “i’m toting around boob milk and cream for my kid’s butt”. Not exactly the message I want my accessories to portray. I emerged from my shopping trip feeling a little defeated, and majorly craving some unexpected design elements and a cool non-diaper-bag-looking yet functional handbag.
Fast forward 10 months to our family’s first long distance trip and 5-hour flight. Instead of biting the bullet and purchasing a diaper bag I opted to carry the diaper bag essentials in a large tote I already owned. Being that my daughter was only 7 weeks old we didn't have much reason to leave the house, thus actually needing a diaper bag, until now. To make a long story short, our flight was a total disaster. The point of a diaper bag (and why you really do need one) is to organize the chaos and keep every single essential within arms reach. Fumbling around for a pacifier while your baby is screaming at the top of their lungs only adds to the monumental amount of new-parent stress. Dropping said pacifier (and only pacifier— hindsight is 20/20) on the floor of the plane after searching for a solid minute seriously made me reconsider my diaper bag tactic, even if it did mean sporting a kid-friendly monstrosity on my shoulder.
The fact that I truly needed a diaper bag was now undeniable while the feeling of boredom over diaper bag designs stayed unchanged. The answer? Create a new category. Finding the right handbag that portrays my personal style excited me but designing my perfect diaper bag would only help me. Everyone has a different personal style and different objectives when it comes to building their wardrobe. The answer to my diaper bag dilemma was to combine the functionality of a diaper bag (sorry Miranda — utility is sometimes necessary!) with individual identity.
A month or so after our dreadful flight the first prototype of ToteSavvy was build and Life in Play Company born. I saw just how helpful this organizer insert in my own life and new it would be of value to other moms in my same situation. What I didn’t realize until months later was how far of a reach ToteSavvy had. While my husband would never complain about carrying a girly diaper bag, we greatly appreciated the ability to throw ToteSavvy in his own messenger bag during Daddy / Daughter days. Looking like a cool, stylish dad is definitely not top priority for him, however, feeling comfortable and confident in his attire absolutely is.
ToteSavvy does what diaper bag companies can’t. Allow someone to express their individual identity time and time again. Millennial parents are very in-tune with finding what’s best for themselves and their family. The one size (or style) concept doesn’t really apply anymore. Yes, diaper bag companies could design into hundreds of styles, proactively offering a diaper bag that appeals to most style aesthetics, but that would be costly and not necessarily affective. Getting to the root of parenthood utility and individual identity is what needed to happen to progress the diaper bag industry and that’s exactly what ToteSavvy did.