Every mom knows this moment: Searching for something in the diaper bag becomes a needle-in-the-haystack mission and you have no choice but to dump all of the contents onto the floor.
For Highland Park mom Rachael Smith, that moment happened in an airport. She was on her way to Tucson, Ariz., alone with her toddler and 6-month-old baby, when they both wanted the same thing at the same time. As she was sorting through that dumped-out bag, though, she started to wonder if she could create something better. "I thought, 'Why the heck don't bags have drawers?'" she recalls.
When she got back home, she started designing in her backyard, with duct tape and boxes as her only materials. She had a partial prototype by 2007. In 2008 she took that bag-broken zippers and all-to the ABC Kids Expo. She got an overwhelmingly positive reaction and with a new manufacturer and some redesigning, she launched Mrs. Smith's bags in 2009.
"Moms today, we really just want to keep it all together," Smith says. And her bags do exactly that. Each one has a pull-out, insulated drawer for snacks and toys, insulated pouches for sippy cups and bottles, and washable changing pads. They also offer a new just-for-dads line. "It makes dad feel like he has it all together when he's on duty," Smith says.
Smith is still working out of her Highland Park playroom, balancing work life and family.
Her bags are available at mrssmithsbags.com, and at retailers across the Chicago area.