MKE’s Kim Coleman looks to save lives through bags

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Kim Coleman’s backpack with angel inspired, light-up wings. Photo via Kim Coleman

Angel On My Shoulder Backpack, Kim Coleman’s business, was created after her daughter was hit by a car.

Coleman sells backpacks that have light-up wings on them, have reflectors and are made from iridescent colors. The backpacks aim to attract more attention to the wearer so more drivers will notice and proceed carefully.

Coleman, creator of Angel On My Shoulder Backpack, said she was inspired to develop her backpack to save lives after noticing a man walking in the road carrying a skateboard and thought it looked like wings.

“I feel that’s why I knew this was a vision from God,” Coleman said. “It was ordained for me to do these bags after my baby was hit.”

Dionna Hayden, Coleman’s daughter, was the child who was hit by an intoxicated driver when she was 19 years old. Hayden said that she was launched into the air but when she landed, she hit the ground gently.

Hayden said it was almost like somebody was gently picking her up when she got hit into the air.

“It felt like angels lifted me in the air,” Hayden said. “To this day, I can’t even explain the science of it. It makes zero sense to me.”

Hayden said the idea for angel wings on their backpacks also came from that experience.

Although Hayden said she ultimately walked away from the accident relatively okay, her mom still wanted to protect other children as best as she could. 

“That’s what makes this product great, because she wasn’t satisfied with just me walking away and saying, ‘Oh well, my kid is fine.’ It’s more so like okay, but what about everybody else’s kid?” Hayden said.

Kiarra Reid, assistant director of student support services at Marquette University and one of Coleman’s daughters, said her mom would always design clothes and create things for her and her siblings when she was younger.

“My mom started this business being a working single mom … she’s always been a creator, an artist,” Reid said.

Hayden said whenever there’s a need in the world, there’s always someone trying to fix it.

“Mama is one of those where her heart has always been for safety, the loving of kids and protecting her children,” Hayden said.

Now, Hayden helps her mom on the business side of the backpacks while Reid said she’s more of her mom’s cheerleader.

Reid said she tries to help her mom find as many business opportunities as possible.

“I really try to help her get connected in front of different audiences and people to make sure it’s accessible,” Reid said. “Anything my hands find to help.”

Coleman said her and Reid went on a game show, Beat Shazam, where they received second place and earned enough money to patent her backpack.

“God allowed it to happen. Every step of the way when I needed a certain amount, it seemed like it always happened,” Coleman said.

Although Coleman said her backpacks are aimed towards more feminine audience, she said she’s currently in the process of designing one’s that will be more masculine. Coleman said it will be more like an airplane that lights up.

 In addition to backpacks, Coleman also said she’s in the process of designing a baby carrier with reflective wings on it as well.

Coleman is currently in the process of setting up a Shopify website to sell her backpacks. Right now, people can purchase them through her and send her money via CashApp. Prices for the backpack start at $35.99 plus tax, if you live in Wisconsin, and are more expensive for out-of-state purchases due to shipping costs.

“It’s nice that this backpack helps deter some of the distraction,” Hayden said. “When you see something that’s out of the ordinary, it definitely catches your eye a lot faster.”

This story was written by Julia Abuzzahab. She can be reached at julianna.abuzzahab@marquette.edu