Packing up kids' lunches in bento boxes is a practical and popular trend these days. And thanks to this insulated bento box carrier made by Robin McDowell at Binski's Studio, your child's lunch box can be every bit as modern and cool as the lunch inside it.
Robin McDowell: My favourite lunch was English muffin sandwiches. Open an English muffin, fill with ham and cheese, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave for 30 seconds. At one point I would eat this same sandwich for every meal of the day. They are delightfully warm, gooey and delicious!
RM: Most of the bento box carriers in my Etsy shop are custom made. I like for people to be able to choose their own fabric and reflect their own personality. Being custom made also means I can adjust the dimensions to fit bento boxes, which can come in many different sizes.
Between plastic wrap and resealable bags, the amount of waste that can be produced with each lunchtime meal can quickly add up. But thanks to Leah and Janis at Island Picnic, you can do away with that waste when you snatch up their insulated, organic cotton lunch bag set. It comes complete with a lunch bag, a sandwich bag, a snack bag and a napkin, so your little ones will have everything they need to enjoy a waste-free lunch.
Leah: Oh gosh, you're making me think! I'm pretty sure that my favourite lunch when I was a kid (and I'll admit it's the same thing now!) was macaroni and cheese. I'm a huge mac 'n' cheese nut! Any brand is fine with me! But I also loved sandwiches of any kind. And fruit roll-ups. And chocolate milk. Yum!
L: My mom and I put a lot of time and care into selecting the fabrics that we use. We only use 100 per cent certified organic cotton materials — fabrics, stuffing in our pillows, insulation for our lunch bags, etc. I think that sets us apart. There are many eco-friendly options out there that are great, but we value 100 per cent organic through and through. It's important not only for the planet we live on but for our own health and our family's health. Our inspiration for starting our business was my daughter's severe food allergies and the research pointing to cleaning out our home environment in the hopes of reducing her allergies. I can't stress it enough: Our products are as pure, clean and free of yucky stuff as you can get!
Your child can take a little friend along to school with him or her thanks to the adorable lunch pals at The Boutique by Embroidery Beauty. All kinds of cute creatures are available to choose from, and shop owner Megan will customize your choice with your child's name for an extra-personal touch.
Megan: I would have to say the best lunch snack was fruit-by-the-foot... because let's face it — eating a fruit snack is just more fun if it is in the shape of a yardstick.
M: I would say what sets my pieces apart from similar products available on Etsy is my customer service. I strive to offer five-star service to every single customer, whether that service generates a sale or not. I also ship my products in one to three business days.
Keep your child's lunch nice and cool with the help of this bicycle print lunch box made by Jennie Howard at Yellow Plum Blossoms. It has two layers — one of batting and one of Insul-Bright — to keep your little one's meal cool until lunchtime rolls around. Plus the neutral colouring and pattern make it a great choice for boys and girls alike.
Jennie Howard: My favourite childhood lunch would definitely be a peanut butter and banana sandwich. My mom only made it for me as a special treat (birthdays, holidays or any other special school day), so knowing I wouldn't have it all the time made it quickly become my favourite special treat that none of my other classmates ever had!
JH: What sets my lunch boxes apart from others on Etsy is the quality of craftsmanship and materials that I put into my work. I have four little ones at home, and my eldest loves to help me pick out boy fabrics that he would enjoy. So in a sense I have a child's perspective on what they like and a perfectionist sewing them together! I always use high-quality designer fabrics and would never sell something that I wouldn't let my own child use.
As kids get older, they can start thinking they're "too cool" for a packed lunch. But teen girls will be a little more motivated to bring their midday meal with them when they get to tote it around in this vintage postcard-print, insulated lunch bag created by Lisu at LeLa Studio.
Lisu: Rice ball wrapped with seaweed! I loved it when my mom made it for lunch. The ingredients are simple, but it is so delicious. It is a comfort food for me, and now my kids love it too.
L: Each lunch bag is like a piece of art to me, and it deserves my attention to details, such as choosing the fabric and matching the colour lining, thread and even the zipper. I enjoy the process of creating each one of them and hope I am making something both useful and beautiful for my customers.
There was once a time when wrapping up our lunches in brown paper bags seemed like the best option, but we know better now. Luckily for us, it's easy to go the more eco-friendly route when you pack your child's lunch in a recycled cotton lunch bag made by Lizzy Lenk at Bag it Conscious. Lizzy has plenty of bags with loads of fun images to choose from, so it's easy to find a style your child will love.
Lizzy Lenk: I'm born and raised in Argentina to European parents. We would always have lunch at home after school (which was from just before 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.), and my mom would cook for us every single day. I think one of my favourite lunches was schnitzel with potato salad. Yum!
LL: What sets my products apart: the best quality I can possibly provide. I make every single bag myself (except the canvas totes and lunch bags, which I purchase ready-made and print the images on them). I offer a huge variety when it comes to fabrics and digital images. I try to cater both to adult men and women as well as children. I also have a line of more "earthy/natural" bags made from unbleached cotton. I think the range of varieties I offer is far larger than anybody else making similar products to mine here on Etsy. I also think what sets my products apart is that I'm the only one that offers choices when it comes to creating sets. Most of my sandwich bags come with a selection of snack bags that is up to the customer to choose from. I also devote an entire section I named "mix and match," where people can choose from a large variety of fabrics to create their own sets. I make a point to always answer messages in a timely manner and mail out my orders with no delay so my customers never have to wait too long to receive their bags. You can read the feedback in my store to confirm this is absolutely true. I would love to think that all of these points don't go unnoticed by my customers. Matter of fact, I have many repeat clients, some of which have even mentioned that they have bought reusable bags from other stores, only to come back to mine because of superior quality. Word of mouth is my best advertising, and I have many customers that have been referred by buyers. That indeed makes me very happy. But mainly to see that people in general are getting more aware about environmental issues and making small changes that, in the long run, have a big impact on the planet.
Let your kid kick it old school with a personalized metal lunch box from Shannon Cunningham at The Preppy Ladybug. Shannon offers all kinds of great patterns, images and colours to choose from, so you can create a lunch box your child will barely be able to wait to run off to school with.
Shannon Cunningham: My favourite thing to eat for lunch as a child were pinwheel sandwiches. My mom would roll up tortillas with the filling and slice them into bite-size pieces. I had seen her serve these on trays at parties, so I thought I was very grown up to have them for my school lunch! My favourite part of lunch, however, was finding a note from my mom or dad in my lunch box. Every day, there was a note telling me to have a great day or wishing me luck on a test or just saying they loved me. That is what I love most about our retro-style metal lunch boxes... They have a chalkboard built right in, so Mom or Dad can easily add a special lunchtime note. The metal also makes it very easy to clean if things spill!
SC: I think what sets us apart on Etsy is our customer service and our ability to change designs, since I do the artwork myself. We don't charge extra for proofs or for changes. This business is my heart and soul, and I love working one-on-one with our customers!
Kids with big appetites won't have to go hungry because of a lack of lunch box space, thanks to this big bento box lunch bag created by Vicki Davidson at uhreusable. It's large, insulated and comes in a variety of stylish designs and colours.
Vicki Davidson: I really loved when my mum made chicken sandwiches with the leftover roast chicken, with sliced apple and a little mayonnaise. I remember sitting on the front step eating my lunch.
VD: That's kind of tough to answer. I think that some of the designs are very similar to other sellers, but maybe it's the fabrics. I choose the fabrics and then send them to get laminated here in Canada, so I really have a say over which fabrics I sell. I also think that the bento box stands apart from other similar products. I have not seen any other lunch bags like this. I had the idea of its design in my mind, but it took me a little trial and error to get it just the way I liked it as a finished product. I really like the shape and size of this bag, as it is deceptively big.
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