Wildcard Wednesday: We have Interns?

Things you don't hear very often: when I grow up…I want to be an intern. 

Maybe that’s because most little kids don't know what an internship is, but it also could be because kids don't know what it’s like to intern for ESPEROS. And that’s a shame…I think that they should know, and I think that you should know, because ESPEROS is changing the game when it comes to internships and here’s why: 

  • you get to wear converse/funky jeans
  • there are dogs to play with at all times
  • people call you by your real name, not “intern”
  • there is a mini fridge 
  • education is seen as an urgent need around the globe (as it should be)
  • you get to play a part in changing the world


My name is Grace and I get the privilege of writing for ESPEROS. I think one of the reasons people might laugh at the idea of dreaming to be an intern, is because intern duties are typically busy work. Fetching coffee, filing papers, doing research…and on and on. One of the things that sets ESPEROS apart in this sense, is the work we get to do as interns. We get to learn from the ESPEROS team, talk with them and live life with them for the months that we are here. They grow us professionally and personally as we witness first had what it looks like to operate a start up gone nation-wide company. In the day-to-day, we aren't taking out the trash (though I think that needs to be done…*cough Ilya*)—we’re making a difference. On top of all of this, what is incredible about interning at ESPEROS is that it all seems like such a privilege. To get to be around the people we are around, and do the things we get to do. Working for a company whose mission is as impactful as ESPEROS’, I really couldn't imagine there being an internship in the world that is a better fit for me. 

By the way…when we say changing the world, we really mean it. In my time with ESPEROS, I have gotten to learn a lot about our partnering non profit, Pencils of Promise. I can really say that I have never felt more inspired by an organization striving to provide education than I have with this organization.

Photo Credit: Nick Onken

Pencils of Promise began with a question and a small boy begging in the streets of India…

“What do you want most in the world?”

“A pencil,” he replied.

I reached into my backpack, handed him my pencil, and watched as a wave of possibility washed over him.

Since this moment, starting with just a $25 deposit, Pencils of Promise has now built more than 200 schools. They believe that a day will come when every single child will have access to quality education…and they are taking real steps to get there. This is what I mean when I talk about changing the world! 

So shoutout to every intern at ESPEROS, and all of you interns around the world. You’re doing great things. And if you feel like you aren't….come to ESPEROS!



Peace, love & intern pride ~

Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern 



March 04, 2015 by Oliver Shuttlesworth

Monday Muses: Jessica Mau

Muse (n.): a source of inspiration. 

We are officially changing Music Monday to Monday Muses, because the incredible artists we get to feature are more than music-makers. They are painters, models, photographers, dreamers, creative innovators of art. 'Music Monday' just didn't do them justice.

That being said, Monday Muses will kick off with the flawless Jessica Mau! You may recognize her from Free People catalogs, Prism of Threads, or representing M. Grace Jewelry! Jessica is passionate, incredibly talented, and such an inspiration to fashionistas around the world.

Jessica recently traveled to Kauai, carrying hope (and all of the Kauai necessities) with her Burgundy Classic Backpack.

Where do you call home? 

I am originally from the Bay Area but LA is my new found home. 

What does carry hope mean to you? 

The word change comes to mind. Believing in a change.

  Photo by: @mgracejewelry

Why is education important? 

I feel it is the most fundamental tool a human can have.

What is your favorite place to take a bag? 

Kauai! So far it is the only place I have taken the bag, but it has been perfect for day trips and picnics here on the island. It has been so handy. 

What is your favorite place that you have lived? Probably Los Angeles, its a great place to feel the buzz of a city while also keeping a quiet reclusive side. 

Favorite type of social media? Probably Instagram

What song have you been listening to? Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am by Fela Kuti 


Photo by: Neil Krug

How long have you been an artist/model? Maybe they are one in the same. I started about ten years ago. I guess the lifestyle lent to dabbling in other creative interests.                                                                    What other artists/brands do you support/follow and why?                       I love my boyfriend Luckey Remington’s work. It is all over my walls at home. His use of color has such a calming effect on me. I also love my sister’s jewelry line M. Grace Jewelry. Each piece is handcrafted in Los Angeles and made out fo recycled metals.    


Thanks for taking time to talk with us Jessica! Also thank you for taking some awesome pictures with our Classic Backpack. Aloha, friend!

Written by Grace Mueller



Spring 2015 Intern

 Photo by: @anthonynocella  

Friendly Friday: Purse & Clutch

At ESPEROS, we deeply care how things are made (look inside our operations). And we hope, after reading each Friendly Friday post, you have started to care about how your products are made and who your products are made by as well. Maybe even, some of you have dreamt of a world where only responsibly made products existed. What if we told you that this dream of yours (and ours) is becoming a reality? 

No longer do you have to look extensively into a company’s supply chain to see if their products are made ethically—not for purses or accessories at least. Today’s Friendly Friday is proud to feature Purse & Clutch!

Purse & Clutch is a Fair Trade Handbag Boutique that carefully selects its products based on ethical principles, craft, and quality. Purse & Clutch partners with artisans around the world who make a living off of the bags they design, create and sell. *Note--these partnerships aren't like any partnership. Purse & Clutch operates off of a set of ethical principles, so you can be sure that these artisans are treated with dignity, respect, and are paid fairly for their region. On average, every $200 spent in their shop employs an artisan full time for a MONTH! 

Not only are these handbags made responsibly, they are extremely affordable and adorable too.

Every bag in the Purse & Clutch shop is under $100 and, if we are being honest, just as fashionable (if not more) than anything you’ll find in the average Austin-boutique. 


Ladies, who’s with me when I say that it’s hard enough to find an affordable handbag. It’s like the whole world decided it would be funny to make every cute handbag extremely unaffordable. Purse & Clutch has somehow managed to not only find affordable and cute handbags (a deal breaker in itself) — but they
are socially responsible too. A dream come true for those who care where their products are made!! 

Purse & Clutch was officially born in 2011 after Jen Lewis realized the need for sustainable job opportunities around the world. From building orphanages in Bolivia, to experiencing socially responsible business models with Fair Trade Bolivian Coffee Sales, to teaching in Honduras, to volunteering with Manos Extendidas Honduras, Jen has a heart for people and an itch to transform lives. She’s the read deal! 

What started as a hobby quickly turned into a full time business and Jen hasn't stopped moving forward since. Jen is incredibly passionate about transforming lives and empowering artisans around the globe—its so encouraging to see her devotion towards ethical fashion. Check out Purse & Clutch's blog here, and their website here. Happy (Ethical) Shopping!! 

*all photos from www.purseandclutch.com

Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern


Wildcard Wednesday: The Final Countdown

3 DAYS - 16 hours, 40 minutes, & 3 seconds. 

Calling all adventurers, hikers, and trip-takers!! We have big news.

Hint: there's a coupon code at the end of the post. So you know it's good. 

The School Yard Backpack and Weekend Warrior are coming out in less than a week—this Sunday, March 1st! These bags were made for you to carry your unbelievably heavy school books or adventure gear to your weekend getaway in style. They make your adventures come alive!

Grace's weekend adventure ^ 

The Weekend Warrior 

Product Details

  • 20” Wide x 12” Tall x 8” Deep
  • Interior Zipper Shoe Pockets & Exterior Zipper Pocket 
  • Nickel Plated Swivel-Hook Lanyards // Poly-Cotton Webbing 
  • Durable Cotton Duck Canvas 
  • Stain Resistant & Water Repellent  

This bag is a good idea when…

  • School is unbearable and a road trip to Nashville is the only thing that will make it better (not that I know from personal experience…)
  • You need more room than a backpack offers—but a suitcase is just no. too much. 
  • You’re going on an adventure that requires a lot of gadgets and tools !! (pockets on pockets)
  • The old, moth-ball filled duffle in your closet just isn't cutting it anymore.
  • Socially responsible products are your thing. 

Adventures we recommend when carrying this bag:


The Schoolyard 

Product details 

  • 16” Tall x 12” Tall x 5” Deep
  • Hidden Front Zipper Pocket + Exterior Zipper Pouch Pocket 
  • Padded Laptop Sleeve (comin in CLUTCH with the backpack organization) 
  • Durable Cotton Duck Canvas 
  • Naturally Stain Resistant & Water Repellent  

This bag a good idea when… 

  • You’re making the 30 minute walk to your 8am class (in the rain).
  • You have so many papers that a little backpack-organization is all you really want in life.
  • You need a hands free bag to go on some serious adventures (without the worry of staining your bag…because #stainresistant) 
  • You want to be apart of impacting in the world.

Adventures we recommend when carrying this bag: 

  • Biking around Austin--we recommend Shoal Creek!
  • Hanging out with Austin’s coolest social enterprises... (@Raven+Lily, @Teysha, @DominicanJoes)
  • Taking a spontaneous trip to Portland, Oregon to hike Forest Park !!! 


Y'all rock. Enjoy 15% off all pre-orders using the code february15 - good for only 3 more days!! Preorder today!

Thanks friends!



Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015

Music Monday: Bree Warren

Introducing one of ESPEROS’ new International Ambassadors--meet Bree Warren, everyone!

Bree in Joshua Tree National park

Bree is an incredibly talented model and we couldn't be more stoked to work with her. We chatted with Bree to get to know her better, here's what we learned about how she carries hope! 






Where do you call home? At the moment Williamsburg, New York - but home to me is still Brisbane, Australia!

What does carry hope mean to you?

It means to spread the love, in everything you do. 

Why is education important to you?

To me, education means so much more than books and algebra. It's about having an open mind and having the vision to see the bigger picture. You need to learn and explore in order to grow. Knowledge is power. 

What is something that people don’t usually know about you? 

I was bitten by a dolphin when I was 10! Not even kidding.

What would you say is your favorite place in Australia? Noosa Heads, Australia. I know Australia is such a long way for most people, but it's so worth it! 

Favorite type of social media? Instagram. I love it so much! Shameless. 


How long have you been an artist/model? 4 years


What is a song/band you are currently loving?


 Ive been listening to all this old Razorlight.

I have no idea what happened to them these days but their old stuff is great. 


Bree Warren, everyone! We are going to have a great time with Bree, we can already tell.

Follow her on Instagram @breekwarren - she’s #artsy on the real. {Also Twitter or Facebook}

Photos of Bree with our classic backpack in Joshua Tree State Park were taken by the talented Lily Cummings. Check out her amazing work here!



Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern

February 23, 2015 by Oliver Shuttlesworth

Friendly Friday: The Giving Keys

{We have the key to Ryan Gosling's heart...keep reading...}

6 billion people on this planet, and not one of us has the exact same story. We each go through seasons of incredible hardship and suffering (we would be lying if we said we didn’t); we face great times and not-so-great times, each shaping us into the unique beings we are.

“Like old keys, we might feel used and discarded. But we all have the ability to unlock potential. Potential to transform our pain into stories of redemption.”—Caitlin Crosby.

Seven years ago, Caitlyn Crosby began engraving and selling keys with inspiring words like fearless, strength, peace, faith, hope. She wanted the keys to be reused by each wearer, passed on and re-purposed over and over again. And thus was born, The Giving Keys. Here’s the idea: the wearer of each engraved key will wear the key until they meet someone who needs the inspiring word more than they do. Not only do you benefit from the message on each key, Giving Keys creates the opportunity to pay that forward to someone else. 

BUT WAIT—THERE’S MORE. The makers of each Giving Key aren’t your average college grads, each key is made by men and women who are looking to transition out of homelessness. Yep. Unreal. What started as a hotel key around Caitlyn’s neck has now transformed into an incredibly successful non-profit where ex convicts, the homeless, business experts and everyone in between come together as a family. 

Today the keys are worn by supporters across the globe, including Ryan Gosling, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Ryan Lochte (hook 'em), Chad Michael Murray, and myself. Stars and commoners alike have realized the power behind The Giving Key's purpose, and made the choice to pay it forward. So, if you've been waiting for a chance to ask Ryan Gosling or T Swift to hang out--this is your chance! Just start talking to them about The Giving Keys. 


Caitlyn Crosby tells her story on the Giving Keys:


If this gets your heart beating fast, know you’re not alone. You can read more incredible pay-it-forward stories on their website here, or add your own giving keys story here !! 


Thanks for reading, everyone. Happy Friday!! Make this weekend a good one. 

*photos by www.givingkeys.com  


Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern

February 20, 2015 by Oliver Shuttlesworth

Wildcard Wednesday: J. Kimmel, C'mon

…uh YES WE DO. We, ESPEROS, formally accept your offer, Jimmy!!

Unfortunately…Jimmy & Matt just don't know that they want to pick us yet. So for the past month, we’ve been trying to get their attention. 

We started with emails (oh so many emails) but that wasn't good enough. So we sent them ESPEROS bags—and they got them! Alas, Matt & Jimmy still want us to try harder. Touché, friends.

So, we’re done playing the “we-are-a-small-business-and-we-are-socially-responsible-and-we-want-to-change-the-world-so-pick-us” card. Yeah, our profits go to educating children in underdeveloped countries…but that just doesn't cut it in the show-biz world. Maybe it would have worked on Jimmy Fallon, but not Kimmel. No, now they have forced us to do the unthinkable. Jimmy & Matt…you’ve brought this upon yourself. 

I proudly introduce to you…our final plea.  


We’ve put our hearts on the line with this one, Jimmy & Matt. You’ve played hard to get, and we enjoyed the chase—but lets get serious now...pick us, pick us, pick us!!!!!!!


We’ll be waiting for your call, guys :-) 


PS. if you're confused by our video...watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4lklnkk8SU


Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern

ESPEROS on The Manual Blog

Thank you to our friends over at The Manual for the kind write up in their last Friday's "Feel Good Friday" series! You can read all about us here.
February 16, 2015 by Oliver Shuttlesworth

Music Monday: Michael Reeder

Meet Michael Reeder, everyone! Michael is an incredible artist who carries hope with his ESPEROS Classic Backpack. When he isn't in his studio making some serious works of art, Michael loves exploring the great outdoors with his girlfriend and dog, Zoe!

Where do you call home? Level of Education? 

I am a Dallas, Texas native. My education moved me to New York City, where I attended the School of Visual Arts and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree focused in painting. I had the pleasure of studying under some seriously amazing artists there. The culture is so rich in New York, I remember one of my instructors pointing out Willem De Kooning’s old studio just a window view away from where our class was. That was surreal. After New York, my girlfriend and I zig-zagged across the US, living in Dallas, California, back to Brooklyn, and have somehow ended up here in Dallas…for now. We’re both artists, which helps propel our creativity. When one person’s fire is smoldering, the other can ignite it again. It’s cyclical.

What does carry hope mean to you? 

To believe in yourself no matter how difficult life may be. Even in the darkest and most challenging moments, there’s always light to be found. Those are the moments which help define a persons true purpose. 

Is education important to you? Does it always come in the form of schooling? 

Education is crucial in the forward progression of life. Some of the best methods of obtaining knowledge are through experience and effort. That being said, developing a foundation that is typically achieved through schooling can also be critical. With a foundation already built, you are putting yourself in a position to learn and perfect your craft even further.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

Berlin. It has everything that I want in a city. 

What type of artist are you and why? Is this your passion or work or both? What motivates you to create?

I am a painter, muralist and graphic artist. I have painted the majority of my life, making it almost like a second language for me. Painting and creating is without question my passion. I love the roller coaster ride it takes me on. Sometimes we dance, sometimes we fight, but I am never disappointed with the journey. The more I push myself to step outside of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory, the more substance my art possesses. My work can be found here.

In addition to my own work, I am also a lead painter at Eyecon Murals. They’ve been painting some of the biggest and baddest murals for over 20 years! It has been an amazing experience painting alongside such masters of their craft.

What do you like about your ESPEROS bag? 

I’m constantly carrying loads of stuff around with me. From sketchbooks to paint and brushes, tools, my lunch… you name it. The Esperos Classic Backpack can definitely handle it. It has a simple low key look that I dig, but it’s also very much capable of doing its job.  

Favorite food or hobby? 

My girlfriend has a food blog (edible-insight.com) that she obviously prepares food for and I am the certified taste tester. Anything she makes is truly phenomenal and I am seriously lucky. As for hobbies I spend a lot of time in the studio, so I cherish any and all outdoor activities with my girlfriend and our dog Zoe. I’m also way into riding my bike, playing the guitar, building stuff out of wood, and I have been known to participate in the occasional Spartan Race. 

What song has been your jam lately that we can showcase on Music Monday? 

One of my favorite songs right now is An Offering Of Grief by Pallbearer. Im not sure if theres a genre for triumphant doom metal but if there is, Pallbearer is the poster child for it. 

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Michael. We love the work you're doing and couldn't be happier to feature you today! Also a huge thanks to Michael's girlfriend, Rachel Strum, for capturing such incredible pictures of Michael and his ESPEROS bag (and Zoe, of course). We really recommend you guys check out her food blog + Instagram, this girl is talented. Thanks guys!



Written by Grace Mueller

Spring Intern 2015 

Friendly Friday: Raven + Lily

As you many of you may know already—a great number of women in our world are living in extreme poverty, mostly in developing countries. Million’s of women, which then translates into millions of families, are without. Last week we got to highlight Krochet Kids, an incredible organization operating to empower women in Uganda and Peru, and this week we are super excited to introduce Raven + Lily to you all! 

When visiting India in 2008, Kirsten Dickerson and Sophia Lin were amazed by the high level of craftsmanship and skill each woman possessed. Women made these incredible products, they just needed a market in which to sell their goods. Enter Raven + Lily. Kirsten and Sophia’s experience in marketing and design made a perfect fit with the skills of the women they met.  The partnership was born! After a few years of operating alongside a non-profit, Raven + Lily launched as an official social business in 2011. Today they work with women in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia, Pakistan, Guatemala, and the USA. 

Based out of Austin, TX (just a few streets over from us), Raven + Lily is doing ethical fashion and doing it well. From design to showroom, their supply chain is crystal clear and 100% of their profits are reinvested into the social mission of their company—employing marginalized women through design, launching new partnerships, and funding educational and healthcare needs in their partnership community.

On top of an running an incredibly ethical business, these Austinites can walk the fashion-walk too. Raven + Lily’s storefront is an absolute dream. Upon walking into the store for the first time, I thought to myself: there is no way that a brand this chic is doing so much social good. Well it’s true, folks! They’ve combined elegant fashion with empowering and giving life. From beautiful jewelry (actually breathtaking stuff) to clothing to purses, they really do have it all. 

Warning: visiting their website (click here now now now) will result in the purchase of something for yourself or for the lucky gal in your life. T-minus 24 hours until Valentines Day, people!!! 


Written by Grace Mueller

Spring 2015 Intern