Handbags are a statement of personal style, fashion, and function. Mim & Ray, a new handbag company featuring luxurious Italian leathers and fine wool panels, is adding another element to the must-have accessory: PURPOSE. Mim & Ray handbags feature fine wool panel detailing, expertly and lovingly hand knitted by a senior adult artisan. Until the launch of Mim & Ray, the young-at-heart knitters had a passion for their craft but no outlet for their artistry.
Each Mim & Ray bag is designed by the creative team at TobyStephen Designs Inc., and finished in Italy, where skilled artisans add fine Italian leather to create the completed work of art you see today. TobyStephen Designs Inc., a non-profit entity, pays a license fee and ensures that net profits raised through the sale of every Mim & Ray handbag is earmarked specifically for KleinLife’s 35,000 recipients ages 2 to 102.
“Mim & Ray handbags are not just an expression of great style. When a woman carries a Mim & Ray bag, she knows that she has made a difference. It’s an expression of great humanity. This collection is a culmination of design inspiration, love of high-end accessories, and the need to support the work of important organizations,” says Toby Strogatz, designer and company founder.
The knitters are part of KleinLife, a non-profit organization that provides essential services, friendship, and support. The program is now giving these older craftspeople a renewed sense of purpose and pride, as well as financial support for their retirement. The seniors knit in groups, strengthening life-long ties with some and making new friends with others. That friendship and camaraderie is woven into each and every stitch of the Mim & Ray bags. When the bags are sold a licensing fee and net profits are returned to KleinLife to fund life enhancing services and programs for its 35,000 recipients.
Photo: Steve Klein and Toby Strogatz pose for a photo in front of a portrait of the late Raymond and Miriam Klein.
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