Bogg Bags
(Photo: Instagram/Boggbags)

Businesses, whether big or small, always feel like a gamble. But when you bet your kids' college fund to support a growing business - that's a whole new level of taking chances.

In the case of Kim Vaccarella, founder of Bogg Bag, the gamble paid off. Although she lost her children's college fund at the start, Vaccarella was able to recover and jump back, and now her beach bag business is looking at a $100 million (£80 million) growth this year.

In an interview, Vaccarella shared how the early reception of Bogg Bags, a unique beach bag made of lightweight materials, gave her the confidence to go all out and invest her children's education money into the business.

"After our first batch hit a small local boutique, they flew off the shelves. At first, I wondered if it was just friends and family showing support, but I chose to believe it was genuine love for the product. Encouraged, I doubled down and ordered 600 more. Those sold out too. Feeling bold, I invested my kids' college savings into over 1,000 pieces. It was a major moment, unloading a full container in our storage unit's parking lot under the night sky," the mompreneur said in the interview.

From Tragedy to Opportunity

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However, misfortune immediately struck the business—all 1,000 pieces had a black smear, making them useless for retail.

"Every piece was marred by black streaks, unsellable to the high standards I dreamt of for Bogg."

As fate would have it, another disaster struck - Hurricane Sandy hit their community, affecting households and families. Thinking that they no longer have use for the damaged bags, Vaccarella's family decided just to repurpose the bags and turn them into emergency kits filled with much-needed supplies. They also thought that was the end of their brand.

However, little did they know that this was the beginning of something bigger for Bogg Bags. "About a year later, our Facebook page lit up with messages from those recipients. Beyond their thanks, they wanted more bags — for themselves and family- as gifts. That overwhelming response reignited my resolve. I knew then that Bogg had to make a comeback."

Bogg Bags Beginnings

The story of the Bogg Bag begins with Vaccarella's frustration with traditional beach bags. As a mother and avid beachgoer, she found herself constantly grappling with flimsy totes that couldn't withstand the challenges of bringing her family to the beach—sand, water, and all the essentials needed for a day by the shore.

"My family has always loved the beach. After many years of buying beach bags, we couldn't find one that met our needs: large enough to carry everything for a day at the beach or pool, sturdy and durable enough to not tip over and spill everything, and easily cleanable with a quick rinse off. We searched and searched but couldn't find one bag to handle those three things."

Determined to find a better solution, Vaccarella set out to create the ultimate beach bag: one that was not only stylish but also durable, functional, and versatile.

According to their website, the mom started drawing out some ideas. "Miraculously, having no drawing ability, I was able to sketch out in my first attempt almost the exact bag you see today! We needed to create a prototype of this new beach bag idea but couldn't figure out how to get started. (I was working as a Controller for a commercial real estate lender then, and my husband is a Police Officer)."

"I came across some big foam sheets at a craft supply store and thought maybe that could work, so I brought them home, cut them up, made holes, sewed the sides together, and voila! The BOGG BAG was born!"

Designed to be spacious, sturdy, and waterproof, the Bogg Bag was a game-changer in the world of tote bags. Its unique construction, durable EVA material, and sturdy molded handles set it apart and made it an instant hit among beach enthusiasts and travelers.

Growing Brand

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The next few years meant big changes not only for the brand but also for Vaccarella's family. Kim left her steady job to go full throttle with the business, setting an ambitious target of $1 Million—and she succeeded. This happened in 2018, a year before the world shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Admittedly, the following year gave Vaccarella another opportunity to do something different. "While many brands shifted to online sales — a logical move in such uncertain times — we chose a path less traveled. We stayed in close touch with our retail partners, sharing their hardships and looking for ways to support them. The Bogg Bag's unique selling point — its washability — unexpectedly became its strength during the pandemic. Hospitals purchased them for healthcare workers, schools for teachers, and stores filled them with goods for contactless pickups and deliveries as Easter approached."

Road To $100 Million

Since its founding more than a decade ago, the company has grown slowly but surely—an ideal that Vaccarella shares and truly believes in.

"My mantra? Slow and steady wins the race. Starting a business from the ground up is a learning curve. I'm a believer in getting hands-on with every part of the operation, even if it means cleaning the warehouse toilet myself. It's all about trusting your instincts, moving at a pace that feels right, and keeping open lines of communication with everyone you cross paths with," she said in the interview.

Bogg Bags reached the $50 million milestone last year and is now targeting and expecting to reach $100 million in sales this year. "This growth is a clear testament not only to our product's value but also to the incredible team behind Bogg and the unwavering support from our community. We truly have something special."

The Bogg Bag stands out as the perfect example of innovation, practicality, and style in a crowded marketplace filled with countless tote bags and accessories. It is also proof that when you have an idea that you truly believe in, you shouldn't be afraid to take a chance with it.