Taaluma Totes: Hawaii Edition by Hayley Spear

Have you ever heard of Taaluma Totes? Or seen the fun, vibrant, uniquely-patterned backpacks being sashayed onto planes and trains and around the world? Two years ago, I was thrilled to learn that my high school field hockey teammate, Alley Heffern, and her partner, Jack Dufour, had created a traveler-friendly, funky-fresh backpack for globetrotters of the world. I was even more excited to learn about Taaluma’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) efforts that occur with each tote sold.


Why is Taaluma Totes amazing? It is because for every tote sold, 20% of the profit is microloaned to farmers and small business owners of that tote’s country. Once able, the country’s natives repay the loan, in which Taaluma uses to purchase more fabric in another country – repeating the cycle! On their website, you can find a webpage that tells you about each individual around the world and what their microloan is helping them to accomplish. Thanks to Taaluma Totes, a farmer named Pastor in Ecuador was able to purchase a dairy cow, and the funds will further help to raise it.

Further, these totes are made by disabled Americans in the heart of Virginia. By purchasing your Taaluma Tote, you are able to aid men and women around the world, provide jobs for disabled Americans, and sport a killer, conversation-starter, savvy backpack.


Once I discovered Taaluma Tote’s amazing product and their efforts in sustainability, I wanted to somehow become a part of it! In January of 2015, I applied to be an ambassador for Taaluma Totes. Despite looking for study abroad students to embark with their ambassadorship program, I had upcoming travel plans to visit Iceland that winter and I harbored high hopes of securing a job in Hawaii for the summer. Since collaborating with Taaluma, I have had the opportunity to take my Ivory Coast tote(s) around the world – to Iceland, Canada, and Nepal – and now to each of the Hawaiian Islands.

Standing at Everest Base Camp with my Ivory Coast Taaluma Tote in March of 2015!

Exciting news came a couple of months ago when Alley reached out to me to share news of the traveler edition totes Taaluma had next on the agenda! When I was asked if I was interested in discovering and selecting Hawaiian fabric for a special, Hawaii edition tote, I jumped to say yes! With the help of Clay, we scoured the fabric market on windward Oahu in Kaneohe until we found the perfect one.

Hawaii Tote
Taaluma Tote’s new Hawaii Tote (by me!)

My appreciation for the beautiful patterns Alley and Jack find and select magnified when I discovered just how hard it is to choose one fabric! With all of the beautiful patterns in front of you, envisioning their future and creation as a tote, while predicting what the travelers want is no easy feat! After testing the fabrics for fraying and bleeding and searching for the most timeless, quintessential patterns, I found the one.

And so, Taaluma Totes presented to you today the traveler edition Hawaii tote by Hayley Spear! Get ‘em while they last! I can’t wait to be sporting mine!

^^ As I wrote this blog yesterday in anticipation of the totes going up for sale this morning, I did not expect them to go so quickly! Three and a half hours after going live, I am happy to announce that the Taaluma Totes Traveler Edition: Hawaii tote is SOLD OUT!!! The good news is that more fun and funky-fresh traveler edition totes from around the world are on their way – and I will be coordinating with Taaluma Totes to get another Hawaii edition tote in the works!!

If you don’t already know about Taaluma Totes, check them out. Get your tote and start exploring the world, one country at a time!

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