Berkley DDA Unveils Shopping Bags With A Cause

Berkley’s Downtown Development Authority is unveiling shopping bags with a cause behind them during its Art & About event on Friday.

The DDA partnered with Better Life Bags in Hamtramck and got sponsorship from Citizens Bank.

Better Life Bags hires women who face barriers to employment to hand cut and sew handbags. The Downtown Berkley Shopping Bags are screen printed in the city by Armadillo Printwear and feature bold graphics of birds that appear on a mural on the Elwin & Co. Bakery building on Coolidge Highway.

Street artist Malt, also known as Brown Bag Detroit, painted the mural and donated his work the DDA’s initiative, DDA officials said.


“The development of the Downtown Berkley Shopping Bag for a Cause is a meaningful partnership between the Berkley DDA and Citizens Bank that makes an impact in our community,” said Rebecca Smith, founder/CEO of Better Life Bags, said in a statement. “This project has allowed us to expand employment – an additional 300 hours of work to the women we employ – for the life of this project. In the world of the under-employed, that is significant.”

Vivian Carmody, executive director of the DDA, said the organization’s board decided to support local businesses when spending money for promotional products for its events.

“We knew we needed a corporate partner, and Citizens Bank seemed the perfect match because of its emphasis on workforce development,” she said.

The shopping bags will be available for $10 each, or $5 each with a purchase at DDA’s Art & About event, which includes musics, art, crafts and shopping at stores in the downtown Friday.

The Downtown Berkley Shopping Bag initially will be available at Berkley Eyewear and Local Sunglass Co., Have You Any Wool?, The Neighbor’s Shoppe, Peninsulas and Vitrine Gallery & Gifts.

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