DO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
BE THE BRIDGE
Step 1: Leather
We all know that leather is an animal-based product. There’s no getting around that. However, there are ways to ensure that the leather is coming from the most sustainable source possible. As we know it, Sapahn’s hides are by-products of the meat industry. If the hides weren’t being used by our tannery partner, they would just be thrown away. And while we know animal-based leather can be a divisive topic, we feel that turning a product that would otherwise be waste into something beautiful, that lasts a lifetime is worthy.
Step 2: Tannery
All of our leather is hand-processed and -dyed in small batches by a 3rd-generation family owned and run tannery. Over the last few years we have built up enough trust with them to be allowed access to see their process first-hand. By doing this we have also been able to start working with them on steps to make their business more environmentally friendly. For example, although they have a water purifier to filter the waste water they produce from the tanning process we realized it wasn’t the best one for the job. Sapahn is now working with them to identify and install a better water purification system.
Step 3: Designing
You may not know this, but our founder, Brooke actually designs each bag in the Sapahn collection. She starts each design season by looking at what you, our loyal customers, have been asking for as well as reflecting on lifestyles and seasons of life where accessories are essential. Over the year, Brooke sketches up new designs with twice a year launching new styles to add to the revolving Omega Collection. She sketches out modifications to our existing Sapahn bags (true story of how the Ciara wallet became the Parker wristlet and that became the Staney) or designs an entire new bag to fit your purpose (hello Audrey).
Once Brooke has worked up a sketch she’ll take it to our artisans Sirichai and Kay to discuss details. They add their ideas into the mix and then take the design back to the village where all the other artisans give their input on the new design. Here at Sapahn we pride ourselves on our handmade process so it’s important to us that the people making the products have their voices heard. We want them to love what they’re making because this isn’t a production line, this is a craft, an art.
Step 4: Pattern making
After the design is completed on paper, our artisans make the pattern the old fashion way with rulers, pencils, and good ole’ card stock paper. This is a skill that takes years to perfect. We are lucky to have three artisans who have mastered this skill and are able to take our idea to reality. The artisans create a sample bag to ‘test drive’. Based on the sample bag we decide on things like zipper size, strap length, and pocket size. When all those details are ironed out the leather for each bag is traced by hand and cut to the right shape and size.
At this point we also ensure that we create as little waste as possible by using scraps when and where possible. We’re a bit like hoarders in that way, we’ll keep just about everything until we really can’t use it anymore. At that point we donate any leftover pieces of leather to the art students at the local university who use the leather in their projects.
Step 5: Stitching
Once each piece of leather is cut into the right shape the bag goes to the sewing machine. Smaller pieces such as bag straps and handles are completed first. Each of the artisans is trained in every part of the stitching process – that means one bag is being made by the same person from start to finish ensuring top-notch quality and attention to detail. We think that’s pretty cool!
Step 6: Lining
Next, the lining for each bag is cut to size and sew on the leather. Each season we select one unique lining pattern per color of leather. So, it's always different, playful, and colorful. Brooke searched high and low through the shops in Bangkok to find the best quality and design to fit our collection. Because we love supporting small, female-owned businesses these are the women we support.
Step 7: Applying Sapahn’s signature Omega hardware
Once all the bags are assembled, they are ready to ship! They are all bundled together and sent to Lincoln, Nebraska (fun fact: that’s where we store everything!). Once the bags reach Nebraska our US team gets started on hand applying each piece of Omega hardware. We have big Omegas and little Omegas! Each one is positioned on its bag, a rod screwed in, and a dot of glue applied to hold it together. And there you go, after months of designing, stitching, assembling and travelling our bags are ready to head to their new homes with you.
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Who We Are
We are a group of strong, bold, dynamic women (and a few men) who are changing the way business is done. We all deserve better than the cycle of exploitation in fast fashion. The products we buy are an extension of ourselves, they reflect what we believe in.
As customers ourselves, we know that you don’t want to sacrifice on quality, design or functionality when you do good. With Sapahn you don't have to. We source fair-trade high-quality materials made to stand the test of time and take you on life's adventures.