My RAIS CASE pause

Dear Friends, 

This is my attempt to explain my pause with Rais Case as I enter 2023.  When I was a full time high school teacher, my school students inspired me to no end. I could sense the wonderful ways they were going to go off and make their marks on the world. Witnessing their potential made me feel that there was something more inside of me wanting to develop.  So after work each day I would explore what that lead me to creating a range of personal paintings, sculptures, joining art shows and then eventually  I sewed a bag (more specifically a laptop bag case ) and my head, heart and hands aligned...I felt it in my soul that this was going to be my next chapter.   This was in the spring of 2010.

I often found myself in a flow state each time I worked on this hobby that I dubbed Rais Case.  There were countless times I stayed up all night working on bags, I took sewing classes, I took entrepreneurship workshops, I read books, I signed up for markets, I made an Etsy shop, I joined trade shows...gathering information and friends along the way.  

This 12 year journey has been quite remarkable.  It has led me to places I could have never predicted.    Both in terms of highs and lows, but by far far far many more highs. 

The same inspiration that I got from seeing my students' potential is something I feel again when I read & see businesses that are truly doing good for people & our planet.  The same inspiration that I got from seeing my students' potential is something I feel again when I read & see businesses that are truly doing good for people & our planet.  For the past 4 years I have been slowly and steadily finding time to work on developing a way to turn plastic bags into fabric, which I’ve dubbed Refusion (meaning the act of pouring back).  Along this journey I met my now dear friend, turned co-founder, Christine, and together we have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of our own dollars refining a system.   We have stayed up countless nights, read and researched mountains of information, filed for patents (in U.S. Mexico & Indonesia), and dreamed up how we can turn what we are doing into a business.   Every single time I do work with Refusion I get that same feeling in aligned feeling in my body and soul that I had when I started Rais Case, that this is going to be my next chapter.   

The tricky part is that I don't quite know how to get to a good stopping point in the chapter I am in.   It is not humanly possible for me to run Rais Case, Rising Co. and Refusion successfully. I love each of these ventures dearly.  They are certainly in many ways just like beloved children to me.  

If Rais Case is my oldest child, well then she is going through an awkward puberty stage.  I’m not entirely sure what this looks like but for the next bit of time I’m going to give her a little space. Dec 31st, 2022  will be the last day to purchase Rais Case bags online. In January I will be pausing online orders and just selling my bags at Rising Co. I am going to take it month by month to see how things are going…at some point in 2023 the online shop will reopen. 

If Rising Co. is my middle child, it needs more of me than Rais Case but far less than Refusion in order to grow, our foundation has been built,...we have an amazing team of merchants and together we are co-creating and designing a better operating system where we function even more like a tried and true co-op. 

Just like when we hold our tiny babies in our arms, we have no idea who they will become.  I feel this way about Refusion.    It has been birthed and I love it so much, and want to give it the attention and love that I feel it deserves at this stage in its lifespan.  It’s an enterprise that I feel has so much potential for positive impact.  I intend to use this pause I am taking from Rais Case to pour more of my time and energy into Refusion. 

Thank you for being part of this journey!  I’ll see you at Rising Co. and here’s to continuing to explore life through bags.  

Big Love xo, 

Julie Rais Ellis