This $178 leather tote has created hundreds of jobs for women in Ethiopia - and it's softer than any leather I've felt
- From beauty and fashion to food and hospitality, consumers are are making socially conscious, ethical buying decisions.
- Able has hired hundreds of underserved women in Ethiopia and Mexico to help end generational poverty while producing beautiful bags like the Abera Crossbody Tote.
- I don't just like it because of its backstory. It's softer than any designer purse I've ever owned, and it easily fits my lunch and workout clothes on my way to and from work.
As a toddler, I remember my parents bringing me along to dinner parties where all the other girls my age would carry around purses, often pink and sparkly and donning their favorite cartoon characters. They would, of course, be empty or filled with books or toys. But I was never the girl who carried around a purse for the fun of it, most likely because my mom knew better than anyone that I tended to lose things easily. Plus, I just didn't like the idea of having to carry something with me everywhere.
To this day, I don't enjoy carrying a purse with me everywhere I go. That said, my love for all of the lipsticks, perfumes, books, and stationary I like to always have on hand far surpasses my distaste for carrying a bag with me everywhere ago. Though I've gotten used to it, I've felt the need to switch out my work bag at least once a year and sometimes twice - until I bought Able's Abera Crossbody Tote.
I ordered the cognac color. The light, dusty brown tote goes with everything I wear, so I never have to switch it out - one of the many reasons it's been a work bag staple since I got it.
I'll be honest, when I first saw it, I thought it was a bit small. So when I started putting my stuff in the Abera Crossbody, I was thinking about what items I might have to forego. To my surprise, everything fit. The bag comfortably held my packed lunch, workout clothes, a book, and a pretty hefty makeup bag. The style is classic, and the small pocket inside is the perfect size for my keys, phone, lip gloss, and mints. But all of this pales in comparison to the fact that these tote bags do good for the environment as well as the people who help manufacture them and the communities they live in.
Able was born out of founder Barrett Ward's time living in Ethiopia. He saw firsthand how poverty affected the young women there and started Able with a mission to end generational poverty by creating jobs for women in underserved communities in Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, and India.
In an effort to make my everyday essential items ones that I'm proud to call my own, I did some research online and decided to order the Abera. Just a couple days after getting it, I found myself caught in some spring showers sans an umbrella and returned home completely soaked. The super durable bag, however, barely had a drop on it. I even spilled a full bottle of lavender essential oil in the tote (I meant it when I said I really like to have everything on hand), and it was completely dry the next morning.
The $178 Abera Crossbody Tote, the namesake of one of the women Able works with, comes in six colors, all of which are neutral earthy tones, some of which are solid and others that are two-color. As I said before, I prefer the cognac because it goes with everything, but you could probably say the same about every other color variation.
There are shoulder straps as well as an adjustable crossbody strap. I typically use the shoulder straps, but when I'm traveling, I switch to the crossbody strap for comfort. I've found this is a great bag for travel because it's extremely lightweight without compromising durability. My sister even borrowed it for a weeklong trip to India and used it to tote around gifts for family without any trouble.
Though the brand is often recognized for their bags, I'd be remiss if I didn't give their shoes an honorable mention. I got a pair of Brazilian handmade white and grey slides that quickly became a staple in my summer wardrobe. The pointed toe is so chic and elegant, yet many would not believe how comfortable they are. Even after being caught in yet another rain storm, the shoes looked just as new as they did when I first put them on. They also also sell ethically produced clothing, including Indian denim products, Peruvian cotton dresses, and Mexican-crafted jackets.
If you're looking for the idyllic work-to-happy-hour-to-tourist bag, the Able Abera Crossbody Tote checks every box. It's lightweight, durable, holds everything, and the straps are comfortable if you plan on wearing it for long periods of time. If this tote is out of your budget, try their smaller crossbody bags to get a feel for the fabric and how the straps feel - I know I'll be adding those to my cart pretty soon, too.
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