Insider's Guide to Spas
The Freedom Collection


Makeup Bags that Hold Hope

Mary Bemis

“These makeup bags are more than just fabric, they tell a story of freedom,” shares Valarie Maloff of Vast Spa Solutions, the wholesale distributor for the bags. Every makeup bag is hand-sewn by women in India who have escaped human trafficking (sex slavery). Making this product, she explains to me, is a part of a woman’s journey to freedom. Each bag is unique and tells a special story of hope and  freedom.

“For the hundreds of women who were once trapped in India’s sex trade, they now have freedom, dignity, and hope,” says Maloff. “The women making these bags are able to gain financial independence, have access to healthcare, literacy education, and other social services.”

The inspirational (and cheerful) bags, available in two sizes, are made from 100 percent organic cotton fabric that is Fair Trade Certified, and each bag is lined with Indian sari fabric and a matching sari tassel. Spas that carry the bags include the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Cliff House Maine, a Destination Hotel, the Lavender Spa in Celebration, Florida, and Beyond Spa in New Jersey.

To support this cause and for ordering information, contact


Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis

Mary Bemis is editorial director of She is an award-winning spa journalist, honored with Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and the distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She sits on the board of Wellness Warrior, is a Global Wellness Day Advisor and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.