Sometimes one’s purpose can manifest in subtle ways, emerging unexpectedly from a passion that’s been smoldering for years, untapped. For Danielle Magee, that’s how the idea for ACE Backpacks began.
She watched a troop of Ugandan students proudly making their way to school, neatly dressed in matching uniforms. But it’s what was missing that made the sight stand out to her: backpacks.
Instead, each student balanced a stack of books on their heads, and Danielle couldn’t help but think about how a “staple” school item in Western culture might make such a big difference in the lives of these Ugandan children.
A seed was planted for an idea: free backpacks for these kids, for every backpack sold back home. But soon Danielle learned about a problem bigger than a lack of backpacks. Many of those same children would likely never finish school, due to injustices like child labor and early marriage; all stemming from poverty.
This, in combination with an existing passion for girls education rights, suddenly made the reason behind ACE so much deeper than a need for backpacks. It’s really all about advocacy, and creating symbols to amplify the important work. The physical product turned into a meaningful symbol.
Fast forward to today, and Danielle has grown the idea into a full-fledged entrepreneurial adventure. Now, after much hard work, ACE Backpacks is finally ready to make its debut.
“An ACE is someone who spearheads their dreams with fear, but achieves them with courage,” she says. “Someone who has struggles but, despite the fears, decides to keep going.”
Besides its inherent meaning, ACE is also an acronym for Advocate, Create, and Empower. These form the three pillars on which ACE’s mission is built, and guide everything from the way the bags are produced to the beneficiaries of the company’s humanitarian work.
“We’re advocating for girls education, a more environmentally friendly planet, and human rights,” Danielle explains. “We’re creating jobs in the USA. And we’re empowering women to be their true authentic selves.”
“The Daniel” is ACE’s first backpack, and it was created as a symbol of what it means to be an ace. It’s especially designed with working (or traveling) women in mind, and also symbolizes equality in the workplace for women.
But ACE doesn’t stop with social issues: the well-being of the planet was high on Danielle’s radar while considering the materials and methods for production of the backpacks.
“I wanted to make sure my backpack also did minimal harm by sourcing as ethically and sustainably as I could,” she says.
The outer fabric used on The Daniel is a vegan water-resistant waxed canvas, while the inner lining is a blend of recycled water bottles and organic cotton. And every part of the backpack is sourced from the USA. The zippers are made domestically in Los Angeles, and the entire bag is assembled by ACE’s production partner in New Jersey.
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A sustainably-made (and gorgeous) backpack, with a mission rooted in equality and education. We’re certainly in love. What do you think?