Fort Worth native Courtney Acuna is a dedicated entrepreneur, wife, and mom, who seeks to deliver purposeful moments to young children in foster care.
Acuna is the founder of This Belongs To _____, an online social enterprise that sells high-end travel pieces, including premium leather bags and minimalistic clothing items. For every bag sold, a large duffle bag is donated to a child in foster care.
Her journey with This Belongs To _____ began in spring 2021 as a Kickstarter campaign launched, aimed at raising $32,000 in 32 days. The determined Acuna blasted through that goal, raising $42,000 with an overflowing amount of pre-orders.
According to recent data, there are over 400,000 kids in the foster care system within the United States alone. With May being National Foster Care Month and right around the corner, we were inspired to know more about Courtney’s mission — to have a positive impact in one of the most important periods in young children’s lives.
What was your inspiration behind the name, This Belongs To _____?
When kids receive their bags from us, their bag has our patch on it, where they’re able to write their name on that line. So many graduated foster youth expressed how big of a deal it would have been to have a bag that was theirs; not their foster parents, not one of their siblings, but theirs forever.
What have you enjoyed most since the founding of This Belongs To _____?
Since the foundation of This Belongs To _____, we have launched a podcast. Getting to interview foster youth and foster parents has been one of the most growing experiences personally. I love sending off the bags to our nonprofit partner organization National Angels, and receiving pictures of the kids with their new bag.
How did you connect with National Angels?
Instagram! National Angels saw that we were looking for a partner organization to team up with; so we met over Zoom, and knew instantly it was the right fit. They love building and equipping the foster family altogether. “Giving fishing poles, not fish” is the way we both strategize when it comes to giving back.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
The pandemic. It was extremely difficult to get this bag made while all of the fashion industry was shut down, but we were patient and took it one step at a time. I’m so thankful to everyone who donated during the pandemic to the Kickstarter event through finances for everyone during that season were so tight.
Do you have a particular This Belongs To _____ product that you are proud of?
Our new Standard Bag is my favorite – I take it everywhere. It was 100% designed for practicality and every inch of it serves a purpose. I love packing all my work belongings inside of it and my husband loves taking his to the gym. It is great for travel too.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find a small group of 2-3 people to keep you accountable. So many times we want to quit, take the easy route, spend too much money, not spend enough money, etc.. Bounce your ideas off wise people that will help challenge your ideas, but also hold you accountable to see it through. From the time I had the first idea about this business to the time we launched on Kickstarter was 11 months. So many times during that incubation period, I wanted to stop. But the people around me kept reminding me how good of an idea it was and that I was capable of seeing it through. Who you surround yourself with is everything.
How do you envision the future of This Belongs To _____?
I want to have the most impact as possible! So if that means growing our product line to appeal to a broader audience, I’m ready to do that! We’re still nailing down who our best audience is and how we can serve them while serving the kids in foster care at the same time.
Cover photo courtesy This Belongs To _____
Amelia Yin is an Editorial Intern at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and senior at the University of Texas at Dallas, double majoring in Global Business and Marketing. She is originally from Copperas Cove, Texas and hopes to become a distinguished businesswoman who can bring value to everything that she does.