I’ve been wanting to introduce a wonderful company called Bungalow that was started by a fellow Cornell alumnus mentor of mine, Deborah Waterman Johns, with her husband Ben Johns. Her entrepreneurial spirit and incredible creativity inspired me to follow her on the same degree program at Cornell, and she has continued to keep me updated with the latest Scout bags and color lines. I’m always excited to see what the newest print will be, and with every season there are more and more products available. The line has expanded from basic tote bags into coolers, laptop cases, backpacks, and more!

For the past 25 years, Deb has traveled to Paris, Milan, and London for the major trend and fashion shows, making it her business to know the colors, styles, and designers for the upcoming season. She uses these insights as inspiration for the seasons’ Scout products. Deb’s history is quite fascinating. After Cornell she worked as an editor at Vogue, so she understood the world of fashion and the importance it plays in women’s lives. When she moved to Washington, D.C., from NYC, she saw a major fashion opportunity – she saw in her new community women with high-profile careers in media and politics but few fashion alternatives. And so she created Get Dressed, a business based on the assumption that most women don’t have the time or opportunity to find clothes that truly work for them. Washingtonian magazine published an article with Deb’s “Tips to Dress By” for Washingtonian women.

Deb is also a dedicated philanthropist. Deb focuses on the issues she cares most about and directs her energy (a lot of it) into grassroots initiatives that bring together members of the Washington, D.C., community to share valuable resources. Deb’s professional and philanthropic works are all rooted in the same spirit that is at the heart of Bungalow’s message, attitude, and style. That spirit is best expressed in the life that Deb and Ben Johns created for themselves, their family, and their friends in their Georgetown home: a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously, combining old and new, with a pervasive sense of humor. On Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending the Johns’ annual GO BO GO fundraiser soiree at their home in Georgetown. Deb and Ben started Go Bo Go six years ago, when her son, Bo, was diagnosed with cancer. After seeing some families struggle to meet their basic financial needs in the face of high medical bills, she and a group of families in Georgetown created a fund, which gives grants to families of children with cancer so that their unexpected medical expenses don’t mean they can’t pay for food, rent, and other essentials. The Go Bo Go fund raises its grant money from an annual theme party at the Johns’ home. The fund’s parties are themselves another reflection of the Bungalow philosophy. No fancy food, no black tie; instead, a theme like “Beach Blanket Bingo/Under the Boardwalk” or this year’s “Backyard BBQ” – and people dancing in silly costumes to fabulous bands. Each one brings people in their community together for a fun night where they can let loose and do some good under a big tent in the Johns’ backyard.

I hope many of you will checkout the Scout bags and Bungalow’s other products at their website www.bungalowco.com./ You will be sure to fall in love with the products, both for the stylish aesthetic and practical durability. Look for them in boutiques around Washington, as they have been trickling into the best shops around town.

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