Come BehindThe Seams

We created Kibou to be your sidekick—a bag ready for adventure with all you need right at your fingertips.

Meet the Founders

We were cross-Atlantic virtual coworkers before it was cool.

Nell Shapiro, CEO


Favorite Kibou Color: Brown

Stephanie Merks, CCO

Amsterdam, the netherlands

Favorite Kibou Color: Blush

We can thank a Brooklyn baby music class for this magical partnership.

Making new friends can be tough in the early days of having a baby. Luckily co-founders Nell Shapiro and Stephanie Merks joined the same baby music class in their Brooklyn neighborhood when their babies were not even a year old. They bonded over many things as new moms, including their search for the perfect bag to do life with them.

When Nell decided to bring her own vision of the perfect belt bag to life, she knew that brilliant graphic designer and close friend Steph was exactly the partner she needed to bring the beauty and brand of the bag to life.

From the phrase “Keep it by you,” Kibou is designed to simplify life in style.

The problem was obvious: traditional diaper bags were heavy & hard to organize.

We were tired of cumbersome bags that felt misaligned with life on-the-go. But the perfect solution just didn’t exist. So Nell picked up a needle, thread, and a basic fanny pack–making by hand the first of many versions of a deliberately minimal diaper bag. From there, she brought her drawings to designer after designer, creating a dozen prototypes before today’s Kibou was finally born. Of course, the process didn’t end there; our commitment to excellence means we are continually tweaking and improving our materials and design based on your feedback.

Closest of Business Partners, 6 Time Zones Apart

Nell and Stephanie’s first born sons, Theo and Théo, not only shared a name but were born only a month apart in 2015.

A weekly baby music class + the occasional 12pm TGIF cocktail = The center of new mom social life and the strongest foundation for friendship and business partners.

Since 2019 Kibou has run from opposite sides of the Atlantic: Steph’s family in Amsterdam, and Nell’s in Bedford, NY, they were virtual co-founders before it was cool.

Origin + Materials

Open a closet in Kibou HQ, and you’d think it was an offshoot of Mood Fabrics. Full of vegan leather swatches, hundreds of different zippers, waterproof lining and beautifully patterned fabrics, Nell began by sourcing materials herself to understand the ins and outs of quality and design components. When she and Steph joined forces, they knew that each and every material that went into making Kibou would need to check off a few boxes: durable and easy to clean, non-toxic and safe for babies, and beautiful high quality. To that end, they work closely with their factory to review every detail and lab test each component for each and every new product that Kibou creates.

Our Favorites

Behind the name Kibou

Kibou [“Key-boo”]
“Keep It By You”

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