DD Bird Handbags Are Designed With Style and Function in Mind
Writer / Julie Yates
Photographer / Daren Short
The energetic force behind DD Bird, a company that produces stylish yet functional travel totes, is a mother-daughter team. Donna Sweat and Amanda Mansard love being partners, bring their individual talents and strengths to the business, and seek to empower women by enabling them to feel more organized and confident. After several years of dreaming about working together and many months of planning, the Carmel and Westfield-based enterprise was launched in May of 2020.
Both women had established careers before deciding to start their own business. Sweat graduated from Indiana State University before earning a master of business administration degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. For 15 years she was a hospital administrator and hospital CEO. Mansard graduated from Butler University with a bachelor’s degree in science, technology and society, and began her master’s degree from Indiana University in 2019. After starting her own web design business and learning to code, she developed custom websites and marketing strategies for local female-owned businesses.
“The corporate world has its challenges,” Sweat says. “As a hospital CEO, I was on call all the time. I was sensing that I needed to do something else and Amanda was feeling that way as well. I knew we could mesh our talents together. Amanda has experience with marketing, technology and building websites. My strengths are developing wholesale sales channels, manufacturing and importing materials.”
Mansard says she felt the partnership would work well even in the early stages of the business.
“I knew I wanted to work with mom after we drew the first round of sketches until 3 a.m.,” Mansard says. “I felt working with her every day would be a dream come true. We have an unconditional love and respect for each other. It’s wonderful to have a business partner that you trust. Because we have an age difference between us, we have different perspectives and can appeal to a larger demographic.”
DD Bird tote bags have a sunny, southern vibe with plenty of padded pockets for sunglasses, collapsible umbrellas, phones, water bottles and more. Each is lined with color-coordinated gingham, and also includes some unexpected security features.
“When I was traveling, I had times when I put my bag under an airplane seat and things in it would roll down the plane,” Sweat says. “We put a lot of thought into what would make the totes the most functional. There are two hidden zippered pockets in the lining at the bottom. Each is double stitched, with extra-thick padding to make them sturdier. Often men’s bags have luggage sleeves so they can be put over a suitcase handle, so we made sure we included that feature. I now travel with both our Nash, which has 13 pockets, and the larger Charlotte, which has 15 pockets,.”
Both sizes are available in different fabric finishes and colors. The pearl-coated nylon Nash is available for $160, and the Charlotte is $170. They are lightweight, water resistant, can be wiped off for easy cleaning, and come in metallic gold, red pearl, metallic gray and black pearl. Vegan pebble leather Nash totes are offered in black, taupe and pink for $175. Another option is the $175 black or navy velvet quilt Nash.
“Out totes are not only chic, but durable,” Sweat says. “All of the products are made of cruelty-free materials such as vegan leather, which feels and looks just like the real thing. We went to great lengths to research what was available and to select the highest quality. We played around with different fabrics and design elements. The Nash can fit files, and a laptop or tablet inside it. The totes are so versatile. They can be used for work, school and travel.”
New moms have found that the totes help with organization. Stroller straps for $18 and foldable changing pads for $28 are available in colors that match the bags. Mama Bird Bundles, which include a tote, straps and a pad, are offered in taupe, black and blush leather, as well as black and navy velvet, for $199. Gift cards starting at $25 are also available.
“The company name is from my maiden name, Donna Dee Bird,” Sweat says. “The bird logo represents our belief that all women can accomplish anything. It symbolizes freedom, strength, beauty and courage. We believe there should be no glass ceilings, just sky. We call our customers DD Chicks. We hope that our bags help women feel confident and able to accomplish more. We set the bar high for ourselves, and if we don’t know how to do something, we figure it out.”