When shopping for back-to-school supplies, more consumers are turning to online shopping instead of going to the mall.
One entrepreneur is looking to encourage young students to become first-generation college graduates with an online shop, BlendedDesigns.com. Encouraging students with backpacks that say, “I can do anything,” founder and CEO Casey Kelley is on a mission to empower the community with uplifting messages.
Casey Kelley is a mom, an entrepreneur, and an advocate for inclusion. When her son Carter was shopping for a back-to-school backpack, she couldn’t find any character backpacks that looked like her son. Carter asked his mom to create a backpack that looked like him. Kelley created the bag and realized that there was a void in the market for backpacks that featured children of color. Through social media, Blended Designs grew a following of supporters, including celebrity endorsements, and sold out during their first year.
Since then, Kelley has expanded the backpack line to include 10 different characters and has included a new name for the company’s back-to-school line. Blended Designs has been featured in Forbes, Essence, Black Enterprise, and endorsed by dozens of celebrities in Hollywood. Their back-to-school products like backpacks, lunch bags, and pencil cases all fall under the brand name 1954.
“We thought about how the back to school category lacks representation for people of color. We also wanted it tied to education. Earlier this year, we made the decision to call the line 1954™ to pay homage to the landmark Supreme Court decision on May 17, 1954,” said Kelley.
“It’s not just about money. It’s not just about selling backpacks. It’s about empowering these kids. It’s about changing the narrative that society has of these kids and spreading the message ‘I can do anything.’”
To support Kelley and Blended Designs you can visit BlendedDesigns.com or follow @BlendedDesigns on social media.