After spending more time than ever at home with our kids, many of us are trying to get organized. But that can be a challenge, whether we have little kids who leave Legos and art projects in their trail or teenagers whose makeup is taking over a shared bathroom. Enter: Zipped Bags, durable, reusable clear bags with colorful, chic accents that are more eco-friendly than disposable options, but can stand up to anything, from toddlers to travel. We spoke to Clara Dixon, one of the two moms behind this unique product, to learn more about their story:
Can you tell us a little about your family?
I am a mom of two boys. My sons are 6 (1st grade) and 4. We live in Stamford, Connecticut. I am also a proud aunt of two nieces and three nephews (I just wish they lived closer to us).
How would you describe Zipped Bags for someone not familiar?
Zipped is a better way to keep your life organized. These bags may be pretty, but they go hard! The surprisingly durable, crystal-clear bags make it easy to see what you have which means less digging around, for both you and the kids. The big, bright zippers and threads are cheerful because organizing doesn’t have to be boring. With pockets, hook-able grommets and four practical sizes, you can Zip everything from toys to craft supplies, scarves to gardening tools.
Why did you decide to start this company? Was there an “aha” moment?
We decided to start this brand because we knew more moms would benefit from having this product in their life. How did we know? I knew because I started out as a customer myself, buying this product from Kimberly (a Greenwich mom of four, who initially designed, patented and produced the bags out of her home in 2013). I never thought I’d say this but, I found myself having fun while organizing. The more I used Zipped to organize my life, the better I felt. To this day, every time I reach for something and know exactly where it is, it feels like a little win. My “aha” moment was when I was reaching out to Kimberly for a fourth time to buy more bags!
When did you launch and when did you realize you had something that was resonating?
Kimberly originally launched the bags in 2013 and quickly realized that they were resonating with friends and family as word spread, and people kept asking her for more. Women from all stages of life were finding new ways to use them – from make-up to knick-knack drawers, kid stuff to client interior design projects, from schoolwork to world travel (when that was a thing). I got involved at the start of 2019 to further develop the bags and launch on a bigger scale.
Why do these make a great gift for other moms?
Zipped Bags make a great gift for other moms because they’re practical and fun to use. Even though our lives have slowed down over the past couple months, they’re still busy and active in many ways. Recently, Zipped Bags have been used to organize home office space and as a fun way to organize children as they adjust to distance learning. Moms, perhaps more than ever, are looking for new ways to simplify and manage their home and family life. Cloth toy bins are great, but they just do one thing and you can’t stick them under the kitchen faucet to get them clean. Zipped Bags are versatile and can be used in countless ways, and easily fit into different shoulder bags, closets and cabinet spaces! (Because sometimes, you do want to get things out of sight.)
As a mom, are you very organized?
I must answer yes to this question, right? I am organized with a margin of grace that grows wider each year. My mindset is to be organized about the things that matter most to me and my family, but to allow for disorganization in other areas. I’m trying to show my children that life happens…milk spills…the best of plans can change…a bedtime story is more important than a dirty dish…and you must be able to adapt when things are not “just so.” For instance, is our playroom always ready to be featured on a magazine cover? Goodness, no! But I do teach the kids to contain some of the mess (large Zipped bags are great for this, even if the toy food is mixed in with some Legos).
Can you share about your commitment to mental health?
I would love to! As you’ll see on our website, over half of our profits support Mental Health Research. The Stanley Family Foundation is the majority shareholder of our Company, which includes Zipped and several sister brands. This charitable organization funds research that would reduce the burden of serious mental illness. Top scientists in the field of genetics, stem cell biology and neurobiology rely on funding from The Stanley Family Foundation to finance their research. Kimberly and I are thrilled that Zipped is part of something so much bigger, especially as Mental Health awareness continues to gain traction in our communities.
Do you have any strategies as a working mom that you use regularly?
A strategy that I use regularly is waking up early 2 or 3 days a week. Five years ago, I would have laughed if you told me I’d be setting alarms for 4:30am. But these days, I’ve learned to love that hour and a half before the kids awake.
For me personally, it’s important that I’m available to the kids when they first wake up and ideally, I’m showered (but to be clear, that doesn’t always happen). It’s also important to me that I get some time to myself. So, these days, I can be a better mom and wife if I can get a little head start on the day. Whether it’s a workout, time spent answering emails or some quiet reading to strengthen my heart, my best days start early. And then you can be sure that I’m sleeping in on the weekends!
How has your town/this area helped you build your business?
We feel so fortunate to be building our business in Fairfield County. Being surrounded by creative and motivated moms, who want to make a difference for their families and for others, is incredibly inspiring. For Zipped, we have been able to connect with women who see the value in a product that is sewn in the USA (something that was a non-negotiable for me and Kimberly) and supporting employees here in CT. We have also had countless individuals encouraging us each step of the way — this area of the country has such a “let’s do this” vibe, and that energizes us!
You live in Stamford and your business is based in Norwalk. Can you please share your favorite local areas to:
Go out to dinner with kids: Coalhouse Pizza
Go for date night: We like to try a new restaurant each time. There have been a lot of new places popping up in downtown Stamford and Harbor Point.
Shop for yourself: It doesn’t happen often, but I love seeing what’s new at Browne & Co.
Shop for kids: Awesome Toys and Gifts
Get coffee: NEAT
Go for fun as a family: Get Air (you’ll find all four of us jumping, and we might even be
having more fun than the kids)
Go for a workout: Orangetheory Stamford
This story is sponsored by Zipped Bags. Use code THEGIFTOFTIME for 10% off all orders through June 1st.