Anna Hislop and her good friend, Susie DeSilva, decided to be creative when the Cayman Islands went into lockdown in March 2020.
Realising that many charities would be suffering due to the economic side effects of COVID-19, they came up with the idea to design an item that would be fashionable yet practical, thus appealing to a wide range of consumers.
It would be sold to raise money for charity, whilst spreading the word about being kind to others. That’s when the #CaymanKind bag was born.
A perfect combination of style and sturdiness, the tote bags are attractive holdalls displaying a distinctly local message. They retail for $75 and all profits from sales are being donated to charity.
“We are extremely close friends and we talk daily,” says Anna. “Over the COVID period we spoke so much about how lucky we feel to be living in the Cayman Islands. We agreed, however, that we didn’t want to just be here and enjoy what the islands had to offer us. Instead we thought, ‘What can we do to make a difference?’”
The materials are exotic and built to last. Each bag is constructed from 100% natural golden jute fibre, harvested in Bangladesh, with leather straps reinforced by antique nickel rivets and a 100% polyurethane water-resistant lining. The person carrying the bag will probably give out before it does, as it can hold up to 100 pounds.
They are crafted by Bangladeshi women who receive Fair Trade wages, annual profit dividends and a retirement fund.
“This was important to us, as our bags promote kindness; so, all elements – including where and how they were produced – mattered,” says Susie.
Adds Anna: “We feel that it is an honour to be a part of this movement and we hope that our retail partners will be as committed as we are to this project. By purchasing them from us, they are doing their part and showing their commitment to the community, and this will then allow us to get the money where it needs to go so much faster.
“Our ultimate goal is to offer as much help as possible to the local community. We will be particularly keen to get these #CaymanKind market bags to as many visitors as possible,
as this will greatly increase the number that we are able to sell. They will also promote
our wonderful country as they travel the world.”
Originally published in InsideOut magazine, Issue 38, Fall Winter 2020.