Skip to content

072: How A Brooklyn-Born Bag Brand Is Changing Kid’s Lives with Scot Tatelman

Scot defines the term ‘social entrepreneur’ and has made it his life’s work to balance profitable business ventures with making the world a better place. After creating two non-profit summer camps serving kids from New York City, Boston and Chicago’s most underfunded neighborhoods, he set out to build a for-profit company with a non-profit pedigree, and launched STATE Bags with his wife, Jacqueline – a Brooklyn-born bag brand built on supporting American kids and families in situations of need.


Places to Find Scot:

Check out STATE Bags via their website.

Or on Instagram @statebags


Show Notes:

[3:00] minute: Set the stage for us, what was life like for you growing up and what beliefs around money and success were instilled in you at an early age?

  • Grew up with a very successful Father who supported the community around him in large ways.
  • Older sister that worked with kids running summer camps and other things.
  • Was taught to think he was rich because of his loving family, not anything to do with the money they had.
  • Money is just a thing, and not the most important thing.

[6:00] minute: Tell me about how this passion started for you to give that opportunity to kids whose families couldn’t afford it?

  • During his time running a summer camp in Maine he wondered why the gift that they were giving to kids who could pay for it couldn’t be given to kids whose parents can’t afford it.
  • Next summer they launched Camp Northbound to serve underfunded neighborhoods.

[8:30] minute: How did you fund these camps in the beginning?

  • The first one was fully funded by the Mark Wahlberg Foundation, who has since made Camp Northbound a signature investment of theirs.
  • When Scot started another camp, Camp Power, he used his network to raise funding to get the money to have served over 11,000 kids the last few years.

[10:00] minute: Tell me the story then of how STATE bags was created? Where did you get this idea from?

  • A few years into running Camp Power his wife and him noticed that a lot of kids were coming to camp carrying their things in trash bags or shopping bags.
  • Wanted to serve those kids in our own back yards with more than just a handout of going to a camp.
  • Created a one for one model bag company where every bag purchased from their company allows them to give one bag away via mass events called Bag Drops.

[12:15] minute: What were some of the biggest challenges in taking STATE from a concept to a reality and creating the physical products?

  • Any entrepreneur can attest to the fact that the challenges are endless.
  • One of the largest was he and his wife, Jacq, figuring out how to work together while being married and raising kids.
  • Trying to break away from the grouping of socially conscious businesses to really shine and innovate.

[14:40] minute: Why did you retire the one for one model?

  • Trying to show customers that they do so much more than just this one for one.
  • First big initiative was an event in Flint, MI, to help with the water crisis that is going on there.
  • Retiring the one for one allowed them to be more flexible with how they donated and what they supported.

[16:45] minute: You have a really unique perspective going from non-profit first to for-profit and for-cause business second, so could you tell us about your perspective on the limitations of a non-profit and how creating a for-profit and cause business gives you leverage to do more?

  • Different types of storytelling. Your tone is different when raising funds for a non-profit.
  • With the for-profit business you are able to use avenues and channels that you just can not use with a non-profit. It allows it to be multi-faceted.

[22:45] minute: You really have leveraged the power of partnerships in a pretty great way that amplify your voice in the marketplace. Could you talk a little about how you create these partnerships and what that has done for your business?

  • Started with a Beyonce partnership, then on to a lot of incredible people and organizations.
  • Authenticity is the key. Leading with how they are going to support people and tapping into what drives the partners emotionally.
  • Example of working with Chance the Rapper in Chicago.
  • Challenge is leveraging those moments so more people know about them to keep driving the impact higher and higher.

[26:30] minute: I’m curious, through what you’ve done with Camp Power or with your work at STATE, tell me the story of one of your most meaningful moments of giving?

  • Story of creating the, “What do you tell the kids” program. Helping to educate instructors and others how to talk with kids when they bring up difficult topics, such as the Black Lives Matter movement which was where the initial idea for the program came from.

[33:00] minute: Who has been the most impactful person in your journey to do well and achieve financial success?

  • His Father

[33:15] minute: Who has been the most impactful person in feeding your drive to do good and have a meaningful impact?

  • Roger Redhead, who helped Scot start Camp Power.

[33:30] minute: When you are having a bad day what do you do to get out of the funk? Any regular habits or personal development practices that really work for you?

  • Used to go on long walks with his dog, but now that he has children he has transitioned to spending time with them when he needs a boost.

[33:45] minute: How do you instill in your kids the importance of contribution and giving back?

  • Find the littlest things, moments, or opportunities to engage your kids in giving.
  • Created three piggy banks for his kids that they can put money into, one is for investing, one for saving, one for donating. Creates that mentality that it isn’t all about them.

[36:00] minute: What book do you find yourself recommending to people most often?

  • The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

[37:00] minute: What is the best piece of advice related to happiness you would give our listeners?

  • Every day when he drops his kids off at school he says, “be good, learn lots, have fun, do your best.”


Do Well & Do Good Challenge Nominee:

Camp Power

Website | Donate

Web Description:

Camp Power provides kids from NYC’s most underfunded and underserved neighborhoods with freedom and encouragement that are often lacking in their communities back in the city. Our signature program is a week long camp at one of the country’s most beautiful camp facilities, providing the summer camp experience to kids who otherwise would never have had the opportunity. The Camp Power experience enriches the mind, exercises the body, and bolsters the soul.

The main goal of camp is to simply let kids be kids for a week because children from these communities are often forced to grow up too fast. Camp takes place in late August so that campers start the school year feeling empowered and beaming with self-confidence. Camp encourages respect for themselves, their peers, and their environment. In addition, we host year-round events for campers such as Thanksgiving feasts, outings to Brooklyn Bowl, Broadway shows, and sporting events to keep the magic alive the other 51 weeks of the year.

In a world where so many of us are angered and confused by the fact that we need to reinforce that these kids lives matter, it is now extra important that we give them a chance to connect with their incredible potential.


Where to Find Dorothy:

Visit Do Well and Do Good’s free Facebook community here and arrange a one-on-one with Dorothy herself!

Follow Dorothy on Instagram @dorothyillson to keep up with the latest Do Well & Do Good news!

About the author, Dorothy

Dorothy Illson is the founder of Needle's Eye Media, a full-service Facebook advertising agency. She's also the host of Do Well & Do Good, a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of people who have created financial success and leveraged it to increase their positive impact on the world.

Leave a Comment