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Our journey

How it all began

Gracebag® was founded in 2018 by Joan and WJ. Gracebag® was born out of our authentic appreciation at the second chance we received at life, and our desire to sow this beauty into the lives of moms from different spheres of life. The Gracebag® design was inspired by a combination of Cape Town’s innovation and craftsmanship, and the colours and culture of Portugal (our honeymoon destination).

We wanted to support an authentic sustainable mission, without making anyone dependant on us. We wanted to build a business that would sustain this mission.

We wanted to create a bag for the stylish and authentic mom, but the bag had to be sophisticated enough for any other occasion. The versatility of the bag had to allow moms to effortlessly change their look without repacking their bag. It had to be spacious with multiple pockets, yet light weight to carry everyday essentials. Finally, a bag that provides both style and efficiency.

We wanted to create a business which is authentic, real and true to itself, a business that touches people. A business that would draw people to the underlying product. People want to believe something out there is real, that someone is doing business for a purpose or cause greater than themselves… People want to use products they can trust.

Our name - Gracebag®

Grace simply means unmerited favour – We are thankful about our story, we are thankful about the ability to create, and about the ability to love.


WJ lost his wife in a car accident in June 2016 (approximately 70 km from the Mukuni Village in Zambia), when their two boys were five months and two years old. At the time WJ and his family were on their way back to Kitwe (Zambia) where he worked for an agribusiness. Afterwards they relocated to Cape Town to be closer to their family.

Joan lost her husband due to illness in 2015 when their son was almost 2 years old. Her husband was a Quantity Surveyor who focused on African healthcare and hospitality infrastructure. Joan and her family lived in Johannesburg at the time, but also relocated to Cape Town where most of her family lives.

Joan and WJ met each other in Cape Town and got married in December 2017.
We appreciate the second chance at life. We realise that it is by grace that we are able to smile at life again!
From a place of understanding loss we hope that the “bag of grace” will play a role to reduce the region’s maternal mortality ratio. We hope to achieve this mission through good sustainable business and partnerships.

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