Around the World with Jill Milan

At Jill Milan we love hearing from our customers about their experiences with our bags. We are so pleased to share this account by Nicole Polletta, president of The Art of Change consultancy in Boston and founder of Nicole Polletta Studio, about where she’s taken her Jill Milan tote. It makes us want to get out on the road!

By Nicole Polletta

I often say that my life is all art all the time.

I grew up in Connecticut in a family of artists and have been immersed in it since childhood—it’s the constant thread that’s run through my life. From going to purchase art supplies with my mother to visiting the Yale University Art Gallery on school field trips, by the time I went to Fordham University’s College at Lincoln Center in New York City I knew that art history and studio arts would be my focus.

A little about myself and my background

Since that time, I’ve launched my studio that focuses on collage, drawing, photography and works on fabric, and am now president of The Art of Change, a strategic consultancy that focuses on audience development for the art world and beyond.

The other constant thread that’s run through my life is my love for animals. Given my Italian heritage where eating meat is almost a given, I decided to become a vegetarian when I was 13 years old, which came as quite the surprise to my family. In recent years, I became more aware of the far-reaching benefits of ethical fashion, and so, when a former colleague told me about her friend’s blog that included stories on such brands, and I discovered Jill Milan, I was immediately drawn in.

Why I love my bag and some of the places I’ve traveled with it

The first bag I got from Jill Milan was the Newport Quilted Tote, in a bronze metallic finish, in 2014, and I use it often to this day! I love its rich color, geometric pattern and slim profile. I also love that it’s perfect for every occasion from sketching outdoors, to having a business meeting followed by dinner, to sharing brunch with my friends.

The author in The Standard East Village in New York, with her Jill Milan tote.

(Photo: Carolyn Louth)


It’s been around the world and back again many times! It’s currently with me in Boston where I’m based, and most recently accompanied me on a business trip to New York City. Cities that it’s traveled to with me are Basel, Chicago, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, London, Maastricht, Miami and San Francisco, among many others!

What I carry in my bag

If it’s time to sketch, I always have my Strathmore drawing pad and Faber-Castell pencil set and kneaded eraser.

If it’s time to have a business meeting, I always have my MacBook, favorite notebook of the moment, favorite black pencil of the moment that’s usually from one of the hotels where I’ve stayed, business cards, a delicious snack, that all-important bottle of water, and my ballet flats.

If it’s time for brunch with friends, I always have at least one of the books that I’m currently reading—right now that’s Maya Angelou’s "Mom & Me & Mom" and Maira Kalman’s "My Favorite Things"—and my notebook in case I have an idea for a new piece of art or something that I want to do in my consultancy.

No matter where I take my tote, I always get complimented on it, and I love seeing the look of surprise on people’s faces when I tell them that it’s all vegan. Fashion can be both beautiful and animal friendly, thanks to Jill Milan, and I’m always happy when other people discover that too.


Photo by Carolyn Louth

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