Owner Julie Rais Ellis’ mission is to make quality goods that support well-being. As a mother of two, wife, artist, traveller, and conscious creator, Julie is passionate about designing the highest quality products that cultivate community and culture around locally, handmade goods. She overlooks every stage of the production process, and takes pride in her company’s conscious business practices. Made with the highest quality materials available, all bags are designed, manufactured, and shipped from San Diego, CA. Find out more about what inspires her everyday and how she started her environmentally conscious company.
Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start your own business.
I was born and raised in the midwest, I found my way to California nearly 20 years ago. In the Spring of 2010, I started Rais Case with a couple hundred dollars. I bought a sewing machine, some fabric and sewed up a laptop case that I immediately dubbed a Rais Case. I built the business from the ground up, which parlayed into purchasing a commercial property and pioneering a cooperative retail shop called Rising Co. in Oceanside, CA.
We put our heart and soul into making the highest quality and longest lasting bags that we can. Within our community is where the magic happens. Both online and in person, the connections our bags create are powerful. Through our circular design practices, local family owned manufacturing, utilizing 100% waste, and a close examination of every single part of our supply chain, we keep the well-being of our planet and you in the forefront of our minds at all times.
As a mother of two, wife, artist, traveller, and conscious creator, I am passionate about designing the highest quality products that cultivate community and culture around locally, handmade goods. My husband, Grant Ellis, and I could not be more excited about what the future holds for growing the family and business.
What makes your brand stand apart from others?
Our approach sets us apart from other brands. We design bags that are multi-functional because our lives are multi-faceted. A Rais Case bag is your companion, intended to be a mirror of your day-to-day; creative, full, well-traveled, and experiential. Our designs are crafted to be a staple in your diverse and rich life pursuits. Our hands touch every stage of the production process, and we take pride in our conscious business practices. Made with the highest quality materials available, all bags are designed, manufactured, and shipped from San Diego, CA.
Where do you find inspiration for new products?
We find inspiration from both our incredible customers and observing the needs of everyday life.
Share your proudest moment as a small business-owner.
My proudest moment as a small business owner has been reflecting back on the past 11 years, since I began Rais Case and knowing that I have built this business from the ground up. I’ve been blessed to have a wonderful small but smart, gritty, and fun team to build this brand with. There have been many, many, many hard days, and hard lessons as it relates to finances, family, and global events, but through all of that we have not given up and I have not sacrificed my integrity of that of Rais Case. I am really humbled that we are still standing and constantly figuring out ways to stay relevant and thrive.
What have you learned most about yourself through the process of building a brand?
What I have learned about Rais Case is that staying small and profitable and true to our core values are beautiful. It often feels like we should aspire to grow bigger because that is what seemingly all business ventures do. But over time I have learned that bigger isn’t better, bigger is just bigger. What I have learned about myself is that I am resilient and I rely on my creativity when my back is up against a wall; and that creativity tends to ignite new innovation.
What advice would you offer to someone else looking to start their own business?
DO IT! Find a way to carve out the time to do it. It doesn’t need to be your full time job, your business can be a side hustle until it can support you fully. If it’s something you really want to do, then once you start you will get energy from giving it energy, and opportunities will begin to come to you.
How do you relax, refresh, and reinspire yourself?
I read to relax and reinspire myself. I am currently reading The Art of Possibilities, Radical Hope, and Essentialism. I like to meditate as I go to bed. I do my best to exercise after I drop my kids off to school. I stay inspired by talking to others, especially my husband and all the wonderful folks who stop in at Rising Co.
Why did the Z SUPPLY Marketplace feel like a good fit for you?
Women supporting women always feels like a good fit for us. We love the aesthetic of Z SUPPLY and the team who runs the company. At Rais Case we align 100% with Z Supply in the belief of designing everyday essential and timeless pieces. We can’t think of a better brand to partner with for this holiday season to amplify this message!
Shop Rais Case and other Marketplace finds here.