Buy A Bag, Educate A Girl

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The Power of the Purse

Catrinka produces women-made handbags to raise funds for girls’ education. We call it the Power of the Purse. Every bag sold provides work for women and education for girls, impacting this generation and the next. Help us expand our reach and make more of a global impact.

Our Story

My name is Megan Reilly Cayten. I founded Catrinka with two friends in Brooklyn in 2013, after more than a decade of working in international development and finding extraordinary woman-made textiles on five continents. I have spent a lifetime looking for an affordable, high quality handbag featuring traditional textiles in a design and silhouette that works for the urban streets I call home - and I finally decided it was time to design it myself.

I made a commitment that every part of the business would be focused on financially empowering women and girls - opening doors and creating choices for them, so that they can have control over their own lives. I believe in women, in our capacity to hustle harder than anyone else, in the extraordinary skills we learn from our mothers and grandmothers, in our dedication to making a better life for our families and children.

Our designs marry indigenous textiles from Mexico and India with locally sourced fine leather and materials. I work directly with women artisans to create our textiles, and with women in two small production workshops to handcraft our bags. We celebrate women's work - because like you we know that the future is female, and investing in women and girls is what will change the world. We design and make durable, hand crafted products with a soul, and a story, for women like you who get empowered by empowering other women and girls. The company is named after my daughter, who was 5 when we launched. We hope our mission speaks to anyone who knows a girl or woman of any age and wants to make her dreams come true.

This is how our model works:

Our Impact

Your Catrinka bag does triple duty! Keeps you in style for years to come, while financially empowering women and girls, helping to break the cycle of poverty. And our commitment to you is that you know the exact impact at the time of purchase. Unlike some other brands, we don't donate "a percentage of profits" - we provide fair work upfront, and with each purchase provide a specific impact of days of education for girls.

“Every dollar you spend . . . or don't spend . . . is a vote you cast for the world you want.” - L.N. Smith.

Every bag is tagged with its impact, in days of work for women and days of education for girls*. To date:

We have provided fair work to 222 women in 16 countries, and supported 279 adolescent girls in 5 countries.

Employing Women

Women reinvest twice as much of their income in their families as men. But women-run businesses face barriers to growth, including lack of training, networking and access to finance, and cultural obstacles that prevent their success. Women who join the formal economy, who open bank accounts, feed their families, upgrade their houses and send their kids to school, have a ripple effect on their local community, and create change that will endure in future generations.

Catrinka works directly with textile and handbag artisans to provide work at a fair wage and on fair terms.

Educating Girls

Educating a girl is the single most effective way to reduce poverty around the world, and can literally change the world. We invest in girls because when girls have access to education and the support they need to put their dreams into action, they transform their families and future children, breaking the cycle of poverty.

Catrinka focuses on adolescent girls because of need - the world has reached gender parity in primary education but not in secondary - and because by the age of 12, in many parts of the world girls become economic assets for others, or wives and mothers while they are still children themselves. We want to do everything we can to support their ability to take control of their own lives. We provide life skills mentoring in addition to education, to give girls the tools they need to understand their bodies, to understand money, and to broaden their vision of their own future. We also developed a production cooperative that allows older girls (aged 15-19) to earn money by making bracelets while participating in the curriculum.

Updates

Project Faq

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