From Classmates to Collaborators: a totes cute story - RainandMoonwater

From Classmates to Collaborators: a totes cute story

I’m a little late to my blogging game with this one, but I had to share the story behind Rain & Moonwater's first collab! In 2021 my friend Serafina and I decided that we should team up as the two bad-ass businesswomen we are and create a collaboration between our companies! So that’s exactly what we did.

How I Met Our Collaborator

Do you see that picture?! We were such babies then! Serafina and I initially met in our design studio class at the beginning of the semester in 2012, however, it wasn’t until we both signed up for Fashion Fits that our friendship truly began.

Fashion Fits is an alterations business created and operated by fashion design students as a way to fundraise for our year-end, student-produced fashion show ‘Unbound’. The services provided by Fashion Fits are offered not only to the students and faculty at Fanshawe College but to locals as well. From simple tasks such as hemming and making pillowcases to altering bridesmaids' dresses and graduation gowns - we never knew what project we were going to get next! 

Little did we know that signing up to take part in fundraising with Fashion Fits would spark a now ten-year-long (and going strong!) friendship.


How did we go from business owners to collaborators?

First of all, we both can’t believe that we’re business owners! In college when our professor asked the class ‘does anyone want to own their own business?’ - we were the only two not to put our hands up. Maybe that was a little bit of foreshadowing by the universe?! I like to think so. 

As Serafina told us in our Instagram Live video, her company Terse Totes came from her brainstorming on what to get the Girl Gang for Christmas.


“Our whole collab started from my wanting to come up with something fun for my girlfriends for Christmas gifts, and I came up with these tote bags that had unique sayings or quotes for each person. I honestly just had so much fun doing it, I thought to myself ‘why stop’!” 


In retrospect, I realized that the first prototypes for this collaboration were her Christmas gifts! The members of the Girl Gang all got cute, natural totes with quirky or fun sayings that related to them with fun black fringe! For my gift, Serafina gave me a plain tote bag, a printout of my company logo (just needing to be ironed onto the tote), and flat out told me “you need to ice dye this, and you need to put your logo on it!” Ugh, friendship is a beautiful thing. 

And the rest is history! Well, the rest is to follow if you don’t know the full story, so…keep reading, bestie!


Pssst! Here we are planning out our next shots!


The Process

You know the song I’m Gonna Be, also known as 500 Miles by the Proclaimers? “I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more”? Well, it felt like we walked 1000 miles just to make this collaboration happen! With Rain & Moonwater being located in Ottawa and Terse Totes location being in Mississauga, it was quite the journey to pass things back and forth. One day we mailed the fabrics and the next we were driving to a halfway point for us both to do a handoff. This is kind of how it all went down:

Step 1: R&MW dyes the fabric (in Ottawa).

Step 2: the dyed and washed fabric then goes to Terse Totes (in Mississauga) to be cut and sewn into a tote bag.

Step 3: add the chosen graphic to the chosen colour of the tote bag by order and ship!

And the secret, hidden step 2.5: Serafina driving back to Ottawa, after whipping these babies up in what felt like the blink of an eye, to do a photoshoot with me for our collab!!! We’re so cute, guys, look at us!

*to see more fun shots from this collaboration, visit our Instagram!


Why is this collab so damn cool?!

Aside from the chill the fabric gets from the ice during the dyeing process, the purchase of this product supports not one but TWO small, Canadian, woman-run and operated businesses. Even if you don’t need more reasons than that, I’m giving you some more reasons why this collab is so incredible:

1. So. Many. Options. They’re endless! Okay, they do end, but we’ve got options. From picking the color of your tote bag to deciding if you want a graphic or not AND IF YOU DO, picking from one of the beautifully designed, sassy choices!

2. All bags (and products from R&MW) are 100% unique in their colouring/pattern! Being able to pick the graphic of your choice as well just gives this bag yet another way to be totally YOU-nique.

3. These bags are ZERO. WASTE. This means we were able to use all the fabric we dyed in creating these tote bags *sheds so many happy tears*.

We even made two totally unique patchwork tote bags!. We held a giveaway contest for a free tote of the colour and graphic of the winners choice! The lucky winner is a friend of the Terse Totes family, Brenda, and she chose the golden yellow ice-dyed tote with the quote "live by the sun, love by the moon".


Would I do another collaboration with Terse Totes?

In a heartbeat.


Thanks for sticking around and reading all about this awesome collaboration I got to take part in with my friend and fellow small business owner!

A special shout-out to Terse Totes! To see what other products and design options Terse Totes offers, visit their Etsy page:


- Charlotte