In the early 2000’s, when Co-Founder and Creative Director Deb Johns was on a trip in Milan, a 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.
SCOUT has its headquarters in Georgetown in Washington, DC, which has a historic yet contemporary feel. Georgetown is part village, part city, and part college town and we love working in the middle of such an interesting dynamic.
The patterns and styles of SCOUT are the brainchild of Deb Johns, our creative director. Deb takes several trips to her favorite cities each year to take photographs of colors, fashions, patterns, architecture and other sights that inspire her. These inspirations kick off each new season of SCOUT. To learn more about Deb and her creative process, read her interview here.
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 imagery you've come to know and love since 2004. Ben Johns, co-owner of SCOUT and husband to Deb, had worked with Mark and Joe at a previous company, and when SCOUT was created in 2004, he continued using their design expertise. Mark and Joe are masters at interpreting and translating Deb's design, color and trend direction for each season into the brightly colored and stylish surface designs for which the SCOUT brand is known.
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.
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.