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“SCOUT is about celebrating the everyday. Our products bring imagination to the ordinary. We want everything about our line to make you smile, down to the names of products and patterns.”

—DEB JOHNS, CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF SCOUT

The first SCOUT bag, circa 2004.

The first SCOUT bag, circa 2004.

The SCOUT Story

In the early 2000’s, when co-founder and creative director Deb Johns was on a trip in Milan, a chic plaid carryall in the window of the Helmut Lang store caught her eye. She remembered selling a similar looking bag (at a much more affordable price) during a recent run of her pop-up shop, Fifi.

In this a-ha moment, Deb realized that if she were to create her own line of tote bags that perfectly blended fashion and function; and, if it came at a better price than its high-fashion counterpart, women and families would come calling. Shortly after, Deb Johns and her husband Ben Johns started SCOUT (they named the company after a beloved family dachshund). The SCOUT collection has since grown to include accessories, coolers, storage, and rugs.

As creative director, Deb has an incredible knack and passion for bringing the new and re-invented together in a very fashionable and irresistible way. This drive for reconception inspires new SCOUT collections.

Meet the Team

Click on the team members below to learn more about us!

Mark and Joe of the Polytone Design Company

Behind the Designs

With each collection, our creative team develops, and often hand draws, a completely original set of patterns.

The prints and styles of SCOUT are the brainchild of Deb Waterman Johns, the Creative Director and Co-Founder of SCOUT. Deb takes several trips to her favorite cities several times a year to find inspiration—everywhere from fabric houses to street fashion. These inspirations kick off each new season of SCOUT.

The Polytone Design Company is home to the dynamic duo of Mark LaFountain and Joe McLain, the artists and creative brain trust behind the SCOUT surface designs you've come to know and love since 2004. Mark and Joe are masters at interpreting and translating Deb's design, color and trend direction for each season, creating exclusive digital and hand-drawn patterns. Each pattern is a limited edition and produced only once, for that season.

Giving Back

Deb and Ben Johns, the co-owners of SCOUT, have always maintained that giving back should remain a top priority on life's to-do list, and that it should be easy to find non-profits that need our help. The goal for the Johns family and our goal as a company is to point people to opportunities right outside their door, where you can help out those in your own community. This is precisely why the Johns and the SCOUT team bring the Georgetown and DC/MD/VA community together annually to raise money for their Go Bo Fund, which benefits families who are balancing medical expenses for pediatric cancer with the day-to-day expenses of raising those families.

  • Go Bo is an annual theme party hosted by the Johns family and friends—an event dedicated to raising money to help families affected by childhood cancer.
  • In 2012, a group of philanthropic mothers began an effort at Webb-Wheatley Elementary School in honor of Mother's Day and hard-working students at the school.
  • Get Dressed and SAKS Fifth Avenue collaborated on several occasions to create fashion forums for seasonal dressing that benefited Breast Cancer Cares/DC4BC and the Go Bo Fund.
  • Deb worked with a Secret Santa program during her days in NYC, and she brought the holiday gift concept to families in need in DC the December she moved.

Community

An essential element to our brand’s growth is the sense of community amongst SCOUT fans.

We have only the fans to thank for the continued buzz around the brand—particularly on the East Coast, where it’s elevated to cult status. No one better understands the SCOUT obsession than another SCOUT fan who can often list off the many different styles and patterns they've owned over the years. We love seeing SCOUT bags old and new—and we love when you share your pictures! Be sure to check out our gallery and submit your own pictures to be featured on the site.