By Kristina Houck The San Diego Union-Tribune
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Shelli Pelly is a social entrepreneur on a mission. She hopes her functional Tote bag will catch the eye of women who need a fashionable bag which simultaneously promotes the health and well being of miracle babies. The San Diego Union-Tribune
With a background in fashion and a passion for giving back, Solana Beach's Shelli Pelly has partnered with a local nonprofit to bring a fashion-forward yet functional bag to the market that will also help raise funds for Miracle Babies.
"It's been a labor of love," Pelly said.
For the past year Pelly has worked with Miracle Babies to create the "Miracle Tote."
She led focus groups with Miracle Circle members, moms and other community members to learn what women want in a bag. After months of researching, planning and designing, the Miracle Tote was recently unveiled at a private pre-launch party at Azzurra Capri, a La Jolla boutique where attendees had an opportunity to preorder the custom-designed bag.
"They were ordering multiples, and you know they like it when they order multiples," Pelly said.
Pelly said the Miracle Tote was made to match everything women requested in the focus groups.
She said it is a chic yet functional tote that's durable and offers organizational components, including two large internal pockets, an internal side zippered pocket and a smart phone pocket. Made of vegan leather and available in both Dove Gray and Pale Tiffany Blue, the large tote comes with a smaller crossbody bag. The crossbody strap can be used for both the tote and smaller pouch.
Priced at $95, the Miracle Tote is currently in production. The shipment is due Sept. 6 with an Oct. 1 launch date for the public on the Miracle Babies website. The tote will also be available at Azzurra Capri.
"I'm excited for it," said Pelly, an entrepreneur, business consultant, former corporate executive and philanthropist. She and her sister founded a company that designs, manufactures and sells travel bags and accessories.
Not long after starting her work on the Miracle Tote, Pelly became a founding member of the Miracle Circle in 2015. Since then, she has quickly grown to become an integral part of the auxiliary group, which supports the work of Miracle Babies through fundraising, community outreach and advocacy.
Pelly also serves on the planning committee for Miracle Babies' seventh annual gala. With the theme "Once Upon a Time," this year's gala is set to take place Saturday, Oct. 22 at Fairmont Grand Del Mar.
"I liked the idea of partnering and co-branding with a charitable organization," Pelly said. "But as time went on, I pretty quickly connected with the women in the organization. I identified with the women and the vision."
The Miracle Tote is the start of a line of custom designed and branded products that will be sold nationwide with proceeds benefitting Miracle Babies, a nonprofit organization that provides support and financial assistance to families with critically-ill newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as well as enhances the well-being of women, children and their families through education, prevention and medical care.
Pelly has plans for totes, backbacks, crossbody bags, wallets and other products.
"I've gotten really involved with Miracle Babies, so it's been fun," Pelly said. "Being able to do something where the proceeds are going toward such a worthy organization makes it more worthwhile."
To preorder the Miracle Tote, email [email protected] or call 858-633-8541. Include desired quantity, colors, your name, phone number and mailing address. Customers will receive an order confirmation and notification of when the order is shipped during the first week of October. Customers can also sponsor a Miracle Mom by donating a tote filled with goodies. For more about Miracle Babies, visit www.miraclebabies.org.