99 problems but your beach bag ain’t one

WHAT: New beach bags designed by local beach lover Jo Balfour

WHERE: Available at Bondi Markets or online

There are 99 problems that could occur to spoil your day at the beach, (most of them caused by sand…) but your beach bag no longer needs to be one…

For Jo Balfour, it was a leaky bottle and a dead iPhone that spoiled an otherwise perfect day at the beach. However, some good was to come of the mishap as it has inspired her to create a gorgeous new range of very clever beach bags.

“I was on my beloved scooter Bettina, heading down to camp cove for some snorkelling about two years ago,” recalls Jo. “I had a water bottle in my beach bag which leaked and killed my iPhone. I went looking for a new bag and there was nothing that was really functional, so I decided to create something myself. Bad design is my absolute bug bear!”

Jo has thought of everything when it comes to this bag. Besides having a range of fashionable designs and a separate section for your water bottle, it’s loaded with what Jo refers to as ‘pocketry’ – the considered inclusion of functional pockets – something that women’s clothing and bags seem to have very little of. In fact, bad pocketry is my personal bug bear!

Not only does the amount of pocketry rock, but each pocket has a waterproof lining. So, if your water bottle does leak, it will no longer ruin your day.


“Our bags are beautifully designed to carry you and your things, from beach to bar (and any adventures in between), effortlessly. They’re well organised, they keep your wet stuff from your dry stuff, and they even have a special place for your phone and sunnies, as well as a removable little pouch. They’re also ethically produced on all of our own specially designed fabrics.”

Jo spent a long time sourcing the waterproof micro fibre material that she’s used to line the pockets – not just for the practicality, but because she wanted something that felt good against your body when you carry it. The materials and manufacturing have all been sourced from ethical suppliers, which also extended the launch timeline, but which Jo feels was well worth it.

The bags come in two sizes and four colourful fabrics including ‘fresh pineapple’, ‘dotty dazzle’, ‘natural pineapple’, and ‘sassy stripe’ (all designed by Jo).

The quick dip – $50

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“Perfect for a few hours and a quick visit to the beach, pool or gym. Carry her either as a tote, or as a drawstring little backpack, with a front zip pocket to separate your bits and pieces from your things.”

The All Dayer – $120

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“Big enough to fit a generous beach towel and lined with water-resistant microfibre, there are pockets for your sunnies, water, mobile / reader, a zip pocket for your valuables, a removable pouch and a zip pocket underneath for your wet swimmers or thongs. A zip fastening lets you still reach your water bottle too once closed.”

Jo, the woman who just made our beach outings 100 times better (now we just need to discover a way to repel the sand…)

 What’s next for Empty Bags?

Empty Bags have only been available since Christmas and they’ve already become a hot item at the Bondi Markets. Not one to rest on her laurels, Jo is already dreaming up fabrics for next season and planning a new collection, which will be called ‘beyond beach’.

Jo is one smart lady who also runs her own PR agency and helps young women to become financially literate through the project 10,000 girls. I’m sure her bags are going to be the new must-have beach accessory.

Head to empty bags.com to find out more.



Tracey @ What’s New Bondi x

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