When Will Trader Joe’s Restock Its Mini Tote Bags?

THEY’LL BE BACK: Trader Joe’s mini tote bags are long gone — another casualty in viral shopping — but resellers are still hawking them online.

The $2.99 compact carryalls swiftly sold out last week after becoming an unexpected must-have purchase. On Tuesday afternoon, a set of four of mini totes was priced at $469 on eBay, and a similar canvas quartet was up for grabs on Poshmark for $300. Founded in 1967 in Monrovia, Calif., the national grocery store chain is known for its everyday pricing and signature products, but accessories are not standard fare. The canvas bags were stamped with a Trader Joe’s bag and offered with handles in red, blue, yellow or dark green. It’s worth noting that the style is derivative of L.L. Bean’s tote bags.

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Despite the hysteria for what is a pretty basic reusable item — and something that can easily be duplicated save for the Trader Joe’s logo — the retail chain does not plan to stock more mini totes until “late summer,” according to public relations manager Nakia Rohde, who declined to be more specific about the timing or the number of mini totes that have been sold so far.

“Our Mini Canvas Tote Bags certainly sold more quickly than we anticipated. Before we had the opportunity to promote them in any way, customers across the country found them at their neighborhood Trader Joe’s,” she said via e-mail.

Some first eyed the tiny totes via TikTok, where videos of in-store displays were viewed again and again. Despite the in-store sellout, the fervor for the totes has only escalated in recent days with major news outlets covering the interest. As for the mini totes red-hot resales, Rohde of Trader Joe’s said, “Our customers, in our stores, are our focus; we do not endorse the re-sale of any of our products, anywhere.”

However of-the-moment the mini totes might be, the first L.L. Bean boat and tote dates way back to 1944. It was created as the “L.L. Bean ice carrier” for homeowners to transport blocks of ice home from a distributor, then store it in a separate ice chest as an alternative for their over-frosted freezers. Made with a double-layered base and of the same material that was used then for conveyer belts, the original tote was tested to hold up to 500 lbs. A company spokesman said Tuesday that L.L. Bean’s boat and tote was its number-one driver of customer growth in 2023. In addition in January of this year, boat and tote sales increased by 35 percent compared to the same selling period last year.

Gucci Men's Fall 2020, Puppets and Puppets Spring 2020, Khaite Spring 2020, Vaquera Spring 2020, and Prada Men's Fall 2020 featured alongside an L.L. Bean tote, a Prada headband and Belgian Shoes.
Gucci men’s fall 2020, Puppets and Puppets spring 2020, Khaite spring 2020, Vaquera spring 2020, and Prada men’s fall 2020 featured alongside an L.L. Bean tote, a Prada headband and Belgian shoes.

L.L. Bean understands how social media can spike tote bag sales, having seen demand for its styles with famous monograms skyrocket in the summer of 2022.

In a new twist in the food-and-fashion exchange, Balenciaga is satirizing a grocery store snack and upselling it. Balenciaga’s $1,750 men’s calfskin chips bag is imprinted with, in all caps, the words “maxi pack salt and vinegar” and is available for preorder via Bergdorf Goodman’s site.

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