Female Founder Change Maker: Jacq Tatelman | STATE Bags
- Kristiana Tarnuzzer
…not even met Jacq (yet!) in person, just in speaking with her the times I have, I wholeheartedly believe and know she is one of those people you just want to be around. Everything about her emanates goodness. Personally, she is someone who gives a damn about everyone; professionally, she has created a brand that is SO much more than just super cool, versatile, on-point bags -- STATE provides essential tools for local children in need through every bag purchased. Let’s hear more from Jacq herself…
TCB: How did your journey with STATE begin?
JT: Scot and I started STATE in 2013 after we saw several kids from our nonprofit summer camp -- Camp POWER -- carrying their stuff for a week away from home in trash bags, and plastic bags with holes in them. We wanted to create a company that not only provided American kids living in situations of need with something tangible but also positive role models, strong messaging -- and the ability to just be kids -- even if just for an hour, which we do through our bag drop programs where we donate our bags. At the same time, we wanted to create products, pre-dominantly backpacks, for the entire family (no matter what your family looks like) that would fulfill your off duty needs in a cool, but still fashionable, casual way.
…Who are two women that have played a major role in shaping who you are today, and why?
JT: My mom was always the type of woman who woke up happy. No matter what happened the day before, she always woke up with a smile and enough loving, strong energy to light up a room. It’s not something I necessarily noticed growing up, but it has always lived inside me and definitely has an impact on who I am today. As for the second woman…I can’t pick just one. I have a small circle of girlfriends in my life, and I have learned so much from each one of them. Each one has opened my eyes to parts of me that I would have never known or understood about myself. Both good and bad. I can undoubtedly say that without my girls I would be totally lost.
TCB: Were there any challenging experiences throughout your entrepreneurial career specifically because you were a female, and how did you respond?
JT: When Scot and I first started STATE as a husband and wife team, it was super difficult for people to see me as more than the creative of our team. Everyone at the table was looking to him just because he was the man and I the woman. It’s no secret that between the two of us the business side (before we hired a CEO) was me. It was always a bit of a shock when we sat in a meeting with people who didn’t know our dynamic -- while they smiled at me and looked Scot in the eye when they asked business related questions. His response would consistently be: “Take it Jacq” -- and without that support from my better half, acknowledging our strengths and accepting they weren’t the typical gender roles, building this business and STAYING MARRIED would have been impossible.
…You’re a mom, as are many in The Cause Bar community -- what's your best advice on how to balance being an entrepreneur and a mom?
JT: Don’t be hard on yourself. We are all doing the best we can and there is always tomorrow.
TCB: What would you tell someone reading this who is considering starting their own thing about the journey?
JT: Make sure whatever you are going after is something you are willing to ride an emotional rollercoaster with. Before you embark on it -- make sure there is really a need/audience/or customer who for sure wants what you’re selling. AND finally, unicorn business are UNICORNS -- try not to get wrapped up in the idea that you need to be the next Warby of this, or Uber for that, or the future Glossier. Every business is different and there is a new wave of startup that is about growing, healthy, strong, and profitable. Business is not one size fits all -- and it’s super important to remember that.
Have you fallen in love with Jacq and her #givebackpack model like we did? We thought so. Shop some of our favorites from STATE today!