If you’re looking for extra credit for your back-to-school shopping, buy local. There’s more to it than jeans, tees and dresses — look for backpacks, lunch bags and more. When you’re out there looking for school supplies, skip the big box stores and grab something practical, unique and locally made.
Photo courtesy of Crafty Wonderland
Eco Lunch Bags
Reusable lunch bags are all the rage in Portland’s schools, so let them choose their favorite design. Eco Lunch Bags by Little Lark are made from recycled cotton fibers, and include rope handles, easy for little ones to carry and open themselves without help. They also come with kid-friendly graphics, like robots, horses and ice cream cones. $22
808 SW 10th Ave.
Photo by Amanda L. via Yelp
The founder of Black Star Bags was a bike messenger in Portland and, after not being able to find a waterproof bag that he really liked, he decided to make his own. Fast forward eight years, and Black Star Bags is still going strong. These waterproof bags might cost more than you’re used to spending, but they’re made to last for a long, long time. Even better, if you have any problems with the bags, you can take them back to the store for repair. They also carry cute panniers, which are roll-top bags that hold a lot and fit securely on a bike rack. $170
Black Star Bags
2033 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Photo courtesy of Buy Olympia
Not only is the artist, Jill Bliss, living in our neck of the woods, but some of these gorgeous Native Flower notebooks feature Pacific northwest flora and fauna, if you fancy a notebook with butterflies or herbs to write homework assignments and doodle some daydreams. While you’re at Land, pick up some local, handmade wax crayons for $11. $9.95
3925 N. Mississippi Ave
Photo courtesy of Queen Bee
Zippered Coin Purse
Queen Bee’s canvas, zippered coin purse is perfect for those little items, like lunch money, wayward barrettes and chapstick, that get lost at the bottom of a cavernous backpack. Plus, the little bird design is really cute and zip closure make it easy for little hands to close themselves. Queen Bee also makes wallets, messenger bags and bag sizes in between with designs ranging from simple gingko leaves to staid tone-on-tone stripes. $16
3961 N. Williams, Ste. 101
Photo courtesy of Non-Perishable Goods
Crayon and Pencil Wraps
How cute are the Non-Perishable Goods wraps that are made right here in Portland? Downright adorable, and they’re sewn to last as well. These wraps will get your art supplies around in style, and as long as your kiddo doesn’t lose track of it, they should last throughout their school years. $30
3808 N. Williams Ave.
Photo courtesy of Luau Wraps
Luau Wraps makes reusable, sandwich wraps that are free from PVCs, BPAs, phthalates, formaldehyde and lead. You can feel good about packing healthy lunches in healthy material and your kids will feel great about showing off the cute designs on organic cotton. Get free shipping for orders over $50, or find a list of nearby vendors on the website. All bags are 100% made in Portland. $7
JJ Jump Clackamas
9057 SE Jannsen Rd.
Do you have any favorite go-to back-to-school items made here in Portland? If so, let us know in the Comments below!