When Australian designers, Terri Ioannou and Dory D’Orazio, decided to find a solution to their frustrations of not being able to head out with the family without carrying too many throwaway bags, they inadvertently also addressed a real gap in the Australian fashion accessories market.
“For many years, Terri and I, along with other mums and dads were always joking – with some frustration – how there are always more bags than people when we go to the beach, park or other family outings,” said Terri.
“We also talked about how when we try to find a stylish and only one carry-all bag in the shops or online, they tend to fall apart quickly, costing all of us more money to purchase new ones every six months or so.”
The pair then had an idea to create a big bag that felt as if it had a limitless capacity, just like Mary Poppins’ magical carpet bag, and in 2017 launched a “tick all the boxes” Kahoots bag under their Mr Poppins+Co label.
“It’s not everyday that you turn to a fictional character for inspiration, but we thought why not? Just like Mary Poppins, we wanted to offer mums, dads, anyone who needed a big bag to get the same magical experience of being able to fit and pull out everything you need,” commented Dory.
“To offer that magical carry-all element, Terri and I combined our graphic and interior design experience to create a leisure bag with an easy access gate mouth opening, a 72L capacity and six separate pockets to secure and separate contents, so that you can store and pull out items easily.”
To address theirs and other parents’ extra wishes for a carry-all that’s also durable, sustainable and stylish, Terri and Dori designed every bag element themselves from the original prints down to the bespoke handles which they commissioned through Dory’s cabinet maker in order to create their prototype. The handles were used in production of their unique, injection moulded, satin touch handles.
Since launching, Terri and Dory have been dominating the big, carry-all bag market, with a consistent year on year sales growth, a 300% increase in the last 12 months and a stockist in WA, NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
“We’ve really listened to customer feedback about what they want when it comes to big bags and ensured that space, durability and quality is at the core of what we do,” said Terri.
“Our commitment to quality is evident when manufacturers who worked with big brands such as Samsonite and Tumi were initially reluctant to work with us because they based their reputation on quality workmanship, until we showed them our product.”
“In addition, we have a 20% return customer purchase rate because our buyers purchase our bags again for friends and family members as gifts. That gives us a strong indication of the market confidence in our bags.”
With increased demand and requests, Terri and Dory have continued their approach of creating quality, durable and spacious bags by releasing a smaller carry-all Chica tote bag for women on the go and stand up, stay open toiletry bags.
The pair are now preparing to carefully enter the global market next year with more innovative designs that have been carefully researched to meet the international customer needs.
Who is Mr Poppins+Co?
They’re beach-goers, child wranglers and travel lovers. Leisure time is important to them and they believe that spontaneity and adventure should be easy – even with kids.
As mothers, they struggled with the number of bags it was taking to get out the house for a family day out or weekend away. Although there were plenty of beach bags on the market, they found that durability and features were hit and miss across the board. Some bags had weak handles, some were for the beach but weren’t waterproof, some were functional but seams and zips failed in a few months and many were too small, not to mention unattractive.
Mr Poppins+Co® was borne from the quest to find the perfect leisure bag for active and outdoorsy Australian lifestyles. It needed to be big, easily accessible, versatile, built to last and beautiful. Both put their skills as career designers to work and came up with a practical and stylish solution for a myriad of leisure activities.
Since launching in 2017, they have expanded the range to include other thoughtful accessories that promote fuss-free downtime.