Carry your gym bag or yoga mat in style for a good cause
People everywhere are customizing everything from their cars to their coffees.
Why not add your gym bag to the list?
A couple of New Canaan exercise enthusiasts, have done just that, making it stylish to bring your Pilates mat to the studio while raising money for a good cause.
Lisa Rose Brown and Mary Pino have been selling a designer line of bags for yoga and Pilates mats since 2008. Their Fall line, however, features a pink bag with a purple floral design to commemorate breast cancer victims. The design was created in memory of Mary Waterman, a friend of theirs who died of the disease.
"We wanted to have something to give back and we chose this because she used to live in New Canaan," Brown said.
Waterman founded the Breast Cancer Alliance, a Greenwich-based organization in 1997, and died soon after, Brown said. She said 10 percent of the proceeds for the bag will go to the foundation. The bag was also featured in the September/October 2010 issues of Pilates Style Magazine as "a product that gives back."
Their company, PBPuhlahteez, started back in 2008 when Pino, a former kindergarten teacher and Brown, a former travel agent, met while attending Pilates classes at the New Canaan YMCA. Back then, Pino said, Pilates mats were only sold in this area with very boring, non-stylish bags. Her daughter had bought her a nice cloth bag, and she bought one for Brown for Christmas.
"Next thing she knew, everyone was asking where to buy one," she said. "I told Lisa let's go -- we can make these."
The pair found a manufacturer in the Fairfield County area, and they began designing the bags with hand-picked fabrics and designs that they approve. Two years and hundreds of sold bags later, there are five product lines, with three bags in each line to choose from for a total of 45 designs available. The bags sell for $44 each.
For instance, the Animal line features leopard, Dalmatian, and giraffe prints. The Quilt line is made from fabric that really does feel like your favorite quilt. The MOD line features a silver bling design and floral design, and the Palm Beach line features hibiscus flowers and a chocolate dot pattern. The lines change every season, and they are constantly coming up with new ideas for designs. For 2011, a denim line may be offered, and a men's duffle bag design will be introduced.
"We decided we were going to do a fashionable accessory so when you went to class you can have your own personal style," Pino said. "Every woman has a particular kind of shoe and bag they like. Why not accessorize a woman going to Pilates?"
Pino said the bags have been sold around town at sidewalk sales, and will be available at the Young Women's League holiday fair Nov. 17 and 18. They are also available online at PBPuhlateez.com.