Design with Purpose

Design with Purpose: Whitby Handbags – “Arm Candy” With A Cause

Whitby Handbags - Design with Purpose
Whitby Handbags are serious “arm candy” that Start a conversation, Carry a Cause, and have the ability to Change a girl’s life by purchasing a handbag.

Welcome back – I missed you during my hiatus.  I’m excited to be back sharing my love for design with you.

Today I’m introducing a new series on Splendid Habitat – Design with Purpose.   Design with Purpose will showcase companies with great products that also support a social purpose or mission.   I want you to know about these brands.  Also, I hope you enjoy the stories and consider buying their products.

Design with Purpose: Whitby Handbags

Whitby handbags yellow satchel - Design with purposeI don’t know a woman that doesn’t have a soft spot for a great looking luxury handbag.  Especially when it’s made with quality craftsmanship, fine materials and high style.  Let me introduce you to Whitby Handbags, a company with a mission that’ll warm your heart.

Whitby Handbags are serious “arm candy” that Start a conversation, Carry a Cause, and Change a girl’s life by purchasing a handbag.

Atlanta-based Whitby Handbags’ mission is to helps fund education for underprivileged girls around the globe through selling a line of Italian leather handbags.

Whitby Handbags Haitian girls photo by Brittni Adams

The US State Department estimates that every year ~ 800,000 women and girls are trafficked across international borders and face a lifetime of forced prostitution, bonded labor, slave wages in horrific work environments, and domestic servitude.

Founder and creative director Brittni Adams learned about the plight of impoverished women and girls in 2011 and was compelled to take action to eradicate this modern form of slavery.   She launched the handbag line in 2015.  The first collection will support 23 girls in La Croix, Haiti through their primary and secondary education.

For every Whitby Handbag purchased 25% of the net proceeds (~ $385) goes directly to a Christian nonprofit to sponsor one girl for an entire year.  This includes school enrollment fees, school meals, health checkups and a school uniform.  Additionally, the student remains in the sponsorship program until her entire remaining primary and secondary education is sponsored.

The goal is for students to graduate and break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy that make girls vulnerable to the social injustice they are often trapped in.

Whitby handbags satchel - photo JoemurrayWhitby Handbags believes each purchaser can carry the weight, the cause of these women and girls, and fund their education in a very personal way.  On every handbag the silk-cotton lining is printed with a bright, colorful drawing by one of the 23 class of schoolgirls in La Croix, Haiti.  There is a note inside each bag from the girl who will be sponsored because of the purchase.  The handbags are made in fair wage factories.

I admire the ethos of Whitby Handbags and hope they sell a lot handbags to support and change the lives of many women and girls.

Whitby handbags photo Joe Murray - Design with Purpose

What’s next for Whitby Handbags?

The next collection is a line of clutches, at a somewhat lower price point, that will help fund the rehabilitation of a deserted girls school in Iraq.

Want to help?

You don’t have to buy a handbag to help.  If you’d like to help these girls you can donate directly to the fund to educate kids at

Here’s a video where you’ll see more about the founder, Brittni Adams and their mission.

Whitby Handbags from Whitby Handbags on Vimeo.

All photography for Whitby Handbags by Joe Murray

I hope you will let me know what you think about this post and my new series – Design with Purpose.

Until next time …

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  • Jamala

    Welcome back Elle! Thanks for sharing and showcasing this designer and her cause. I’ve not heard of them before. I definitely like the concept of showing designs with a purpose. It’s great to know when/if you’re buying something that has a cause.. (like the baskets I featured a while back) . Thanks again and I look forward to seeing more.

    • Elle

      So glad you like the new design with purpose feature Jamala. It’s a double blessing when what we buy will also help a worthy cause. I’m happy you agree!

      Also, thanks for wishing me back. It’s nice to be missed.