Bags on a Mission
Local bag company opens new East Austin storefront with a mission
One Austin-based company is on a mission to expand its footprint with a new east side storefront. ESPEROS, a bag company that gives consumers a unique chance to give back to kids in need, will open the doors of its shop located at 1203 E. Seventh St., on Thursday.
The ambitious company was founded just a couple years ago by Oliver Shuttlesworth, a University of Texas graduate who returned from a trip to Central America trip with an eye-opening perspective. “I heard the same recurring theme among families I spoke with [in Central America]: a desire for their children to receive a quality education,” Shuttlesworth told CultureMap in a previous interview.
Gleaning inspiration from other retailers who successfully give back to those in need (think Warby Parker), Shuttlesworth founded the bag company on a similar model. For each bag sold, ESPEROS donates approximately $10 to help a child in the developing world attend school. And since a year of schooling costs only $15-$20 per child in these communities, that donation makes a big impact. The company works with nonprofits including Pencils of Promise (in Guatemala) and Fnokoze (in Haiti) to fulfill its mission.
Previously only sold online and through retail partners, the new storefront will grant shoppers access to all ESPEROS products, including classic backpacks, totes and carry cases.
"And on top of that, we are highlighting a few other brands here in Austin that are local, high-quality goods," says Ilya Kuperman, head of operations. "This includes Burlap Bag Candles, The Good Hippie, Son of a Sailor, Stationary Bakery and Old Factory Soaps."
With the new space, ESPEROS hopes to connect to the comunity in a new way. "ESPEROS is a young company in a young, fast-growing city and we want to offer the community an impactful, well-curated shopping experience. Our goal is to connect people with our brand and mission in a fun and comfortable space," Kuperman continues.
To celebrate the brand's growing footprint, ESPEROS will host an opening party Thursday, August 7 from 6-9 pm. The festivities will include live music, bites, drinks, and — of course — a first chance to peruse the shop.