In 2006, I started selling Avon (I quit in 2010).  During this time, they started offering a small selection of Butler Bags and I noticed at the District Sales Meetings that we all had the same bag – black with a silver buckle.  I used this bag for over a year until it eventually died, and even though it wasn’t the best looking bag in the world, it was still the best purse I had ever used up to that point for one reason:  The cutlery tray-like organizer inside.

Avon Butler Bag - Exactly like the one I destroyed

Jen Groover invented Butler Bags after fitting the cutlery rack from her dishwasher into her purse, creating a fixed, rigid storage structure.  Now they use fabric, batting, and other normal purse materials to make the structure but the concept is the same.

My (now dead) Butler Bag

I don’t think I could live without Butler Bags now.  I can reach into my bag and grab my cell phone before it stops ringing, my keys before the rain soaks me through, and my planner before I forget my next appointment.  I used to have to take my purse off my shoulder and use the floor or a table to get organized or find what I needed.  Now I can just open the purse with it still strapped to my shoulder and find what I need.   It couldn’t be easier.

Here are the pros and cons of owning a Butler Bag:


  • Very roomy compartments
  • Doesn’t fall over
  • Basic designs – not the focus of the outfit
  • Keeps you organized
  • Usually made of cruelty-free materials (no leather, suede, or fur)


  • Typically poor construction
  • Will only last a year of constant use
  • Some of the designs are downright ugly
  • Patterns can be fun sometimes
  • Everyone you know will ask you to hold things for them at concerts and bars

In the future, I would love to see collaboration between Jen Groover’s organizational design and real designers for the exterior (can you imagine a highly functional bag with a Missoni print?  That would be awesome!).

I bought my most recent Butler Bag from QVC’s website as I’m not 100% sure where else they can be purchased.  They have a selection of styles but are running out of colors.