Hey Sapahn lovers! Our second artisan blog post series is finally here, this time featuring the Omega Leather community. This first part of the series brings you the story of how our founder, Brooke Mullen, got connected with the wonderful community who creates our beautiful Omega Leather purse and accessory collection.

 

How did our Omega Leather community begin? 

 

Sapahn's original five Omega leather workers

 

This story first started long before Sapahn came into the picture. Husband and wife duo, Mana and Nueng (also known as Arpa), started making leather bags around 21 years ago, along with their other friend, P'Ti, who they met while studying art in Bangkok.

 

This group set up a small factory in a village in Thailand and recruited two other friends from the village to begin the business. As business expanded, they recruited local students to help them in the shop, using the opportunity to teach some village kids the art of leatherworking. Mana’s strong eye for design and Nueng’s business skills helped lead the group. They traveled to Bangkok each weekend to sell their products at local markets, gaining them exposure around the country.

 

How did Sapahn meet the leather workers? 

 

Local Thai market in the leather workers village

 

Fast forward about 10 years into their business venture, Brooke began seeing their work at a local market she attended. Curious about their products, she began developing a friendship with Mana and Arpa, who eventually brought her to the village where they make the bags. A keen designer herself, Brooke began tinkering with bag designs and hardware samples she found at a local store.

 

“This was when I was supposed to be writing my Master's thesis,” says Brooke, “but when I needed a break from that, I would pull out my samples and start experimenting.”


Brooke began with paper, staples, and some hardware pieces, folding the paper into the shape of a bag and stapling it at the top. “All my friends were working on their papers and I was like 'Hey, what do you guys think of this design?' and showing them my paper bag,” she reminisces. 

 

Creating the Signature Omega Leather Pieces

 

Brooke Mullen designing with Sapahn's Omega Leather artisans

 

What started out as pieces of paper stapled into a bag shape soon became Sapahn’s “staple” product. As the friendship with Mana and Arpa grew, the leathermakers agreed to create a product exclusively for Sapahn. Brooke worked on creating potential designs, testing samples and finding great colors for each product. When selecting the trademark Omega hardware, the team had no idea they were creating a symbol that people would grow to recognize Sapahn by. However, after not including the hardware one season and getting questioning feedback, Brooke knew that the iconic brass bit would be Sapahn’s signature piece on their leather bags. Eight years later, the artisans have made a full collection of bags and wallets, in all different colors and all with Sapahn’s signature Omega hardware on the outside. 

You'll be amazed at how soft our Omega Leather collection is when you try a piece for yourself, so shop our gorgeous leather bags today! Plus, you can check out our Meet the Artisans page to learn even more about this wonderful community! 

This is part one of our Omega Leather blog series. Have you seen our Mulberry Queen Silk series yet? Be sure to check it out! 

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