My mother was in town for just one weekend until I get to see her again for the holidays. She came to my last cross country race on this great campus and afterwards, I got to show her one of my favorite spots in the world. It's a bit rough around the edges, this old wood shed. But the walk we took to get there reminded me of what a good life it is. We swung our hands together and sang along to country music while the last few hours of autumn light lit my memories on fire. We talked about what we wanted, what we had, and mostly how proud we were of each other.
This instance, more so than any over hyped media scandal or bloated statistic about how wrong America is at something, encapsulates the American spirit to me. It's a sense of optimism about where we are going and pride for where we came from. It's a new version of the old American dream, where instead of a white picket fence and a two car garage, people want to create companies, content, and lives that contribute something.
R. Riveter is one such company. I first spotted the bags at shopSCAD on vacation about three years ago. What caught my eye was the earthy tones and sturdy construction of the bags. No nonsense attitude but with beautiful aesthetics. After leaving the store empty handed, I did my research and became even more determined to own a bag. You see, not only are R. Riveter bags made in the US, but every employee is a military spouse.
The name, as you probably guessed, stems from Rosie the Riveter. Despite Rosie being a fictionalization of so many women during the WWII era, I grew up considering her something of a role model. R. Riveter was founded on the "We can do it!" attitude and seeks to allow military spouses meaningful and gainful employment despite being relocated so often. The handbags themselves are made from recycled military materials such as duffel bags and shelter halves.
In 2014, they've been finalists in the Martha Stewart American Made awards as well as the West Elm Local grant (you can vote for them here). I'm pleased to be collaborating them to promote their Kickstarter campaign. There's a week left to donate and with some seriously killer pledge rewards, I highly recommend checking out the campaign. After all, isn't supporting the American spirit in others part of the spirit itself?