OAK Lifestyle Literally Designs Backpacks for Kindness

Posted by on October 12, 2012 in charity, Education, Entrepreneurship

This week, Designed Good was able to chat with the founders of OAK Lifestyle – an awesome company in Austin, Texas that has designed backpacks with an Ordinary Acts of Kindness message – and a few extra ideas about how to find and create goodness.

The founders of OAK are four good friends – some of them married to each other, some of them related, and some of them just happy to have found each other as buddies along the way. The four of them – Lindsey, Brent, Jessica, and Kevin – all chimed in for our interview to talk about why their backpacks are designed good for the world.

Purchasing the OAK backpacks donates backpacks and school supplies to children through CapCityKids in Austin, TX and Africa New Life in Rwanda. Each OAK backpack also comes with its own small pouch designed for an Ordinary Act of Kindness, like keeping a snack to give to a hungry friend or tip money for a musician.

According to the founders, designing the backpacks consisted of looking at all the other backpacks they could get their hands on, noting what they did and didn’t like about the design, making drawings, and thinking about functionality. The idea for the Ordinary Acts of Kindness pouch, however, was there right from the beginning. We asked about the kinds of stories that have come out of the OAK pouch – you know, the coolest act of kindness anyone has ever come up with, that sort of thing – but the founders had something much more general – and, to be honest, meaningful – to offer. “We get stories here and there, but the pouch ends up being sort of symbolic, with a bigger idea about goodness,” they said. “Most of the stories we get are stories about kindness in general that people thought of just because now, with the pouch, they are in the mode of thinking about it.”

Lindsey and Brent also spoke specifically to why OAK’s mission to support education and kindness really mean something to them. “I think about how my parents were able to pay for my college and how if I hadn’t had any of my education, my life would be completely different,” Lindsey said.

Brent’s other work experience has given him a relevant perspective. “I work for the fire department so I see how it makes a huge difference when people stop for help when someone gets hurt or when a car breaks down on the side of the road,” he said. “And I also see what happens when people aren’t kind. Things kind of fall apart when nobody steps up and helps out, and it’s nice to see people being kind in this community.”

Designed Good is featuring these backpacks in a sale that runs through Oct. 22.

Katy Gathright

Katy Gathright is the co-founder of Designed Good, a new community that curates the best in design and social good. They hand-select and sell clothing, accessories, gear, gadgets, and artwork and tell the stories of how each product is designed for social good. She graduated from Williams College in 2012 and is most excited about engaging other millennials in the idea of great design for social change.

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