We sat down with Jacq Tatleman, co-founder of STATE Bags to find out more about the cool, inclusive brand that uses the power of business to give back and shift narratives around social injustices. Under her leadership, the company has partnered with celebrities including Beyoncé, Barack Obama, and Jessica Alba and has supported organizations such as TIME’S UP and Seeds of Peace. STATE has also sent fully-stocked backpacks to the U.S./Mexico border and schoolchildren in Flint, Michigan. Here, Tatleman shares her personal journey, what being bold means to her, and of course, how Birdies help her feel bold, bright, and confident.
What’s a bold move you’ve made in your life?
Everything that revolves around founding STATE Bags has been bold for me. I’ve never owned and operated a business before. I’m not even a designer by trade. I’m a creative who was raised around a lot of self-made people, so I guess I have a strong sense of what it takes to run a business. With that, there have been many bumps in this road, and on the other side of the adversity, I always look back and think, holy $%^&, I can’t believe I did that.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about being bold and true to yourself?
“It’s not where you are now, it's where you end up that matters the most.” My father always used to tell me this as a kid whenever I was struggling. That quote always stayed with me and reminded me to embrace the journey, relinquish the feelings of trying to keep up, and focus on who I am and what I want MY own life to be.
What advice would you give future generations of women to live boldly and with purpose?
My entire life changed when I learned to accept myself. My advice would be to take the time to fall in love with who you are, but without ego and always with kindness (toward yourself and others). If you can walk into a room with confidence balanced with empathy, your path will light its own way. Embrace your weaknesses and ask for help. Most importantly, listen.
Who or what inspires you to be bold?
I think sometimes I need to feel inspired to keep going, and what does that for me are the kids and communities we serve at STATE Bags. If we don't sell our product, we don't have a business. If we don’t have a business, then I would feel I left this earth with a giant hole of what could’ve been something extraordinarily great—a company that always stood for more than selling stuff, a company that had a voice and a reason for being. So when things feel too hard to go on, I push and I fight for it with an outward boldness that won’t quit.
How do Birdies make you feel bright, bold, and confident?
This is a shoe made for a powerhouse. It says, “I’m here to do the work.” Classic but with comfort to support you throughout the day.
Jacq is part of our new “Bright. Bold. Birdies.” campaign, featuring and celebrating women who embody what it means to be bold inside and out. In this series, they share their stories of success and how Birdies help them soar.