Short Answers From Jacq Tatelman

There are plenty of moms who “inspire” on Instagram. But we’d be willing to bet that a good amount of them would disappoint you IRL. Jacq Tatelman is not one of those people: She’s the opposite. An authentic, honest, and real mom (Ayla is 5; Ozzie is 3) devoted to making a real difference. She truly INSPIRES. Let us count the ways:

  1. She and her husband started a camp for underprivileged kids that’s described by everyone that goes as nothing short of magical.
  2. When she saw kids bringing their belongings to camp in garbage bags, she launched State Bags.
  3. She thinks balance is bullshit.
  4. She partnered with Beyoncé. BEYONCE!!
  5. She thought she was too cool for a diaper bag, so she rocked a clutch until her daughter had a public blowout and she was sans diaper and had to wrap her in a scarf.

Read on for LOLs, right on’s, and – not gonna lie – probably a tear or two. #Momgoals

A Good Egg

My husband’s entire life has been deeply rooted in philanthropy: His family owns a camp in Maine and there were weeks between sessions where it wasn’t being used. It was his idea to invite inner-city kids to enjoy camp on those weeks. Cut to years later when he moved to NYC and worked at a nonprofit and felt unfulfilled. We had just started dating, and he wanted to do the same thing here for kids in need, and he asked me if I wanted to do it together. That’s how Camp POWER and our nonprofit org came to be – we send 185 kids from East New York, Bed-Stuy, Red Hook, and the Bronx to camp in Pennsylvania. It’s a life-changing week where they go tubing, rock climbing, hiking, play tennis, but most importantly, they receive the most unbelievable unconditional love from the staff – lawyers, doctors, real estate execs, chefs – who take a week off to do this and spend time mentoring these kids. It’s magical: That’s how everyone involved describes it.

The Campers

They come from neighborhoods where they have to grow up so fast and so many of them experience domestic violence, poverty, and drug abuse. For this one week, they just get to be kids and have fun. You will see the uncool kid get up on stage and sing with the worst voice ever, and every other kid is cheering him on with nothing but love and respect. I’m telling you, it’s pure magic.

The Birth of STATE Bags

Every year, we’d see some kids coming to camp with their stuff in trash bags, and that’s just a microcosm of what’s happening across the country. We decided to marry my fashion and design experience with Scot’s marketing and nonprofit background to do great things for the world. It’s a 1-1 business model, so for every bag we sell, we donate one to an American child in need. But we take it farther than that – we carry out high energy, motivational bag drop rallies with our team of STATE PackMen that get kids dancing, laughing, inspired and prepared for school with a new bag and essential tools for success.

On Working With Her Husband

I’m obsessed with my husband. I think he’s the world’s greatest man, and I love spending time with him. From the launch until 6 months ago, Scot handled marketing for State Bags. We had a come to jesus moment at home one night, and I was like ‘who you are as a human is the give back aspect of the business, and no one can do it like you. It’s in your DNA and comes so naturally.’ Watching him embrace it now blows my mind daily. He is the best human being I have ever known, and I am so proud he is my husband.

The Home Office

I love to take a shower at night, and my best ideas come to me when I am in the shower, so that’s often where some of our biggest business decisions happen – I clear one piece of the frosted window to relay my latest epiphany. For real.

Career Highlight

Not a day goes by that I don’t see a State Bag on the street. It blows my mind that people are taking out their wallets and buying our bags. I love it.

Career Lowpoint

You have daily highs and lows as an entrepreneur – it’s just all about how you manage those low moments. About 2 weeks after we launched State, we had sold maybe 150 bags, and we were in Jamaica on a much-needed vacation. Scot was wearing one of the backpacks, and I noticed it was ripping and literally falling apart at the seams. I was crying by the pool that it was so over. We got the entire team on the phone, emailed every customer to return their bags, and found a new manufacturer to remake everything. It was a VERY low point.

On Working With Queen Bey

We were so lucky: Jay-Z’s blog featured STATE when we first launched, so we got connected to the Shawn Carter Foundation and were trying to find a way to work together. Well that fell flat on its face, and then one day we get a call from someone at the foundation who said, ‘We think we have an amazing opportunity for you. Can you show up for a meeting at this address and this time.’ So obviously we do, and we are seated in a conference room, and these executives come in, and I said, ‘I hate to be an idiot, but where are we?’ And they were like, ‘Oh, you’re in Beyonce’s office.’ My legs started shaking under the table, but I was trying to be completely composed. Beyonce has this charitable initiative, the BeyGOOD Movement, and we partnered for a back-to-school initiative, giving away more than 6,000 backpacks to kids in need. Of course I was a million months pregnant, and I had my son 4 days before the first event in Charlotte, so I couldn’t even be there! I so desperately wanted to be part of it – we had t-shirts made with BeyGOOD on them and my boobs were size H’s and busting out of that shirt, but I wore it anyway to our final event in Brooklyn!

Raising Do-Gooders

We have to balance their understanding of giving back and what real life is about. I’m a firm believer that we need to give our kids the tools they need to be creative thinkers, so I’m not going to tell my daughter she can’t have new crayons because she broke them all – we just go get new crayons. But we do tell her when we do a bag drop for kids whose parents can’t afford to get them backpacks full of school supplies, and she’ll tell everyone she comes in contact with because she’s so proud. We have lemonade stands to raise money for Camp POWER and then use the money to host pizza parties for the camp kids, and she gets SO excited! She’s more aware than your average 5-year old.

Brilliant Dinner Convo

We go around the dinner table and each say what we’re hopeful for and thankful for. It’s so easy and keeps the kids in the mindset of giving back and appreciating what they have.

Balance Is Overrated

Working mom or not, we are all just trying to get by. There’s no rule book on how to be a good entrepreneur, business woman, wife, and parent – you just take it day by day. We don’t have to be at work at a certain time, so we usually have breakfast with the kids, and we always have dinner together as a family. My parents got divorced when I was young, so family dinner was my dream. We have a great time amongst the chaos: Scot and I are a great team and are able to laugh about how ridiculous and crazy it can all be.

#Obsessed

  • The Mini Lorimer State Bag in this beautiful blazing blue leather.
  • This clothing brand called Libsa that’s sold out everywhere. I’m dying to wear the color combos of these simple pieces, but I literally can’t get my hands on it!

Stressing Her Out!

Back to school is our superbowl, and we need to crush it. We made these bags I have been looking at for 6 months, and now I am questioning it all.

The Struggle Is Real

I’m so tired and stressed out, it’s sometimes hard to keep my cool – why are you crying about how I unpeeled your banana. F*^k!

On Date Night

I love date night: We don’t do anything fancy, it’s just focused time together that makes it the best. When we are alone, and there is no work and no kids, it feels like a honeymoon. We usually do it right after work and walk to the West Village, do some shopping along the way, have a glass of wine, and go for dinner. People think we’re newlyweds – we are so enamored with each other.

#Momfail

When I started having contractions with Ayla, I alerted both of our families, packed 2 huge suitcases and bungeed a giant yoga ball to it. We strolled into the hospital, and I was like, ‘I am in so much pain!’ I was 1mm dilated – they snickered and told me to go home. Scott’s whole family had rushed down from Boston and was already in the waiting room. The hospital walk of shame out of there with all that luggage was mortifying!

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