I hate commuting. Three to five days a week, I pack an overstuffed bag (sometimes two) and embark on the two hour journey from Wisconsin to Chicago. Being away from my home for almost ten hours a day forces me to stuff my life into a purse, and I know I’m not alone. I see it everyday; women overloading themselves with backpacks, bags and purses. And let’s be honest, there are not a whole lot of options both cute and functional.
But thanks to Jennifer Paige Boonlorn, the creative mind behind Soul Carrier, that’s no longer the case, because we now have a chic bag big enough to secure our laptops and lunches. Ladies, let me introduce you to Kelly Beth:
Kelly Beth, like all bags featured as part of the Authentic Change collection from Soul Carrier, is crafted in Leon from genuine leather and lined with micro-suede interior. It comes in both a dark brown (shown above) and light brown with either watermelon or mint accents.
The Kelly Beth is very spacious, so naturally I had to see how much I could comfortably stuff into it, which I’m proud to say, was quite a bit more than I expected. In total a managed to fit around 20 items, including my laptop, a binder, 2 notebooks, a book, a small make-up bag and my lunch, with plenty of wiggle room so nothing got smashed.
Bags of The Authentic Change collection have a minimalist design with clean lines and small pops of color. At first, I wasn’t crazy about the structured stiffness of the bag, but as I was placing my laptop and books inside, I realized the structure actually helped to keep everything in place and organized. My only complaint would be that there was no way to keep the bag closed, such as a strap or buckle.
My favorite part of the bag, aside from the color (the mint against the dark chocolate brown reminds me of Andes mints, which I love) was the outside pocket on the side of the bag. It’s a perfect place for your phone. There is nothing I hate more then when my phone rings and I miss a call because my cell has fallen into the black hole of my purse.
Not in the market for an over-sized tote? Not a problem. Soul Carrier offers a number of other pieces in different styles and sizes. There is the Sarah Elizabeth, a slightly smaller version of the Kelly Beth; the Jamie Leigh, a cross-body bag; the Blake Emery, an oversized clutch; and the Olivia, a mini shoulder bag. Personally, I like the Blake Emery. Not only is it great as a clutch, it’s also the perfect size for an organizational bag within a larger tote.
While the products from Soul Carrier are great within themselves, Boonlorn sees her business as more than just the creation of a product. After tragically losing her parents in a car accident, Boonlorn evaluated her life and found that her original plan of becoming a lawyer wasn’t what she truly wanted. She felt she wasn’t being true to herself, so she decided to follow her love for design to New York where she attended a two year program at Parsons The New School For Design.
From there Boonlorn fell into a number of opportunities such as interning for Oscar de la Renta and Women’s Wear Daily, working in the development and design center for American Eagle’s Aerie line, and even launching her own Blair Waldorf inspired headband line which was sold in Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue.
But even with the success in this country’s fashion central, Boonlorn missed home. After the birth of her niece Blake, she decided to move back to her hometown of Phoenix where she again followed a series of design opportunities in Arizona, eventually leading to her the creation and design of her own bag line. It took some months of re-branding and re-designing, but finally with the launch of the Authentic Change collection, Boonlorn has created a product that is most authentic to who she truly is.
At the end of the day, buying from Soul Carrier should be about more than just buying an accessory. Use it as a reminder to live a life you’re happy to have. So the next time you are contemplating a life-altering decision, or questioning yourself, Boonlorn would like to leave you with this:
“I want to inspire everyone to truly listen to your soul and pay attention to your intuition. Ask yourself: ‘Where do I want to go?’ and ‘What do I need to do to get there?’ Put yourself out there and take action. Have the courage to go and do whatever it is you want to do. And don’t get frustrated when it doesn’t happen, because it doesn’t always happen overnight, or the first year or even the second year. Just keep at it. When you are authentic to what you truly want, the universe has a way of opening up doors. And even when everyone is telling you to do something else, no. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go?”