Deb Waterman Johns founded SCOUT with her husband Ben Johns in 2004.

Decades in the making, the “ah-ha moment” happened when Deb—a seasoned fashion trend spotter and renowned fabric, pattern, and color thought leader—spotted a unique bag on Canal Street in NYC and a (very expensive) chic carryall bag in the window of a high-fashion store in Milan. She realized there was a need for stylish, functional tote bags at an affordable price point, accessible to all women, and she could be the one to fill it. SCOUT was born.

Since then, SCOUT has become a cult-classic, giving modern women of all ages the products they need to contain, organize, and carry all the stuff they—and their families—need to successfully navigate and celebrate their busy days and lives. As Deb likes to say, “everyone has stuff, SCOUT gives them the best place to put it.”

Design visionary + mom of four

With 40+ years of fashion and trend-forecasting experience and leadership, Deb is the visionary and creative force behind SCOUT. She conceptualizes and designs every product start-to-finish. Through the lens of her well-trained eye, Deb finds inspiration everywhere she turns, including her global travels, fashion trends, and her own day-to-day life as a modern, working woman and mother of four. SCOUT’s talented team of artists work collaboratively with Deb to interpret her designs, creating hundreds of original patterns each year. Limited-edition patterns are released only once per season, ensuring every seasonal SCOUT collection is fresh, on-trend, and in-demand.

Fashion, fabric, pattern, color expert

After earning her bachelor’s degree in design from Cornell University, Deb began her career as Assistant Fabric Editor at Vogue magazine in New York, where she developed an unparalleled understanding of fabrics, colors, and patterns. Parlaying this talent and expertise into her next role, Deb joined Pat Tunsky Consulting—one of the world’s leading fabric and color predictive consultancies serving top fashion designers and retailers. At Pat Tunsky, Deb acted as a go-to resource for ‘what was next’ in the fashion industry, advising more than 1,000 clients—from Kmart to Calvin Klein. Eventually, Deb set up her own consultancy, serving fashion and accessory brands from J. Crew to HUE.


Personal stylist + pop-up boutique host

Deb also leveraged her experience in the fashion industry to launch her own personal styling company, working closely with celebrity and political figures in the DC metro area. Thanks to Deb’s unique ability to make women feel both comfortable and stylish by playing up their strengths, her client roster quickly grew—and she continues to style select clientele today. Inspiring style on a broader scale, Deb hosts an exclusive pop-up boutique several times a year, called FiFi. Hundreds of loyal followers flock to each much-anticipated event, eager to shop fresh, new products—many sourced from Deb’s frequent travels abroad.

Authentic + approachable

Today, Deb and Ben lead a team of 30 full-time employees at SCOUT headquarters in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. Despite the company’s substantial growth since its founding, Deb is committed to keeping SCOUT approachable, accessible, and authentic. A reflection of this commitment, Deb only uses employees and friends of the company as “models” in SCOUT marketing materials.

Avid philanthropist

In addition to being an entrepreneur, mother, dog owner, and accomplished seamstress, Deb is also an avid philanthropist who has created two charitable organizations. The GO BO Fund supports families and children in area hospitals with their medical bills, and Santa’s Helpers gives underprivileged children gifts to put under the tree each year—all delivered in donated SCOUT bags.

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