• Featured Brands: BAGGU

    We're gonna go out on a limb and bet that you probably own a BAGGU (or...two, or five). The eco-friendly, foldable totes are a permanent fixture for us (we are known to always keep a few in our car us for impromptu grocery buying), and we've loved watching how the brand has expanded in recent years to offer way more than just their beloved totes. Today, BAGGU has evolved into a bona fide design house that works in tons of different materials, shapes, sizes, patterns, and colors. 

    Started by mother-daughter duo Joan and Emily Sugihara with the help of Emily’s childhood friend Ellen Van Der Laan, the line's durability mixed with a forward-thinking sensibility about design and sustainability makes it one of our favorites around. We visited them in the BAGGU San Francisco HQ to discuss more of these ideas. 
    Photography by Julia Robbs

    Can you catch us up on what projects have been at the center of your focus this year?
    This home collection for Urban Outfitters has been a big one! We also launched our mesh bags. It's a new material for us and we love it – we're especially excited for them with summer coming. And this fall, we have some new combo mesh/nylon items coming as well. 

    We’ve noticed you’ve added some new shapes recently — any stories about how these have come together?
    A few years ago, when were designing our All Weather Bag (aka The Wetsuit Bag), we sampled a pouch we called the wax pouch: made to hold wax, and shaped like a disc of surf wax. We didn't end up producing it, but this year we pulled it out when we were looking for cross body purse inspiration. We all still loved the shape and size. We sampled it in leather with a strap, and it was pretty much done.

    On the flip side, do you remember what the first bag was you made?
    The first bag we made was our Standard BAGGU in eight colors. We still make the red and black!

    What does it mean to be a “low waste” company?
    Lots of things! The biggest place you’ll see low waste is in our product design. We intentionally design things that don’t leave behind a lot of scrap and don’t use more material than necessary to get the job done. In the offices, it’s all little stuff that compounds. We are pretty much paper free. Everything is digital, and we don’t use paper towels. 

    How do you recycle materials in your design/production process?
    We cut our fabrics and leather to maximize use and minimize waste. For example, the pouches that our Baby, Standard, and Big BAGGUs come in are sewn from what would have been waste fabric left from the handle cut out of the flat pattern of those bags. For our leather bags, we cut large bags out first, and then cut our smaller purses and pouches from the left over smaller pieces to use as much of the leather as possible. This is a great approach financially as well as ecologically — because we get more out of the leather, we can charge less for all of our bags. 

    On top of our actual bag production, we keep our packaging as minimal as possible, just enough to keep the bags from getting damaged in transit and nothing more. 

    What new ideas, color combinations, or patterns have been inspiring you lately?
    Dusty, muted, and soft tones have been pretty popular around the office lately. Vertical stripes. Forest green is also on the BAGGU brain.

    What, where, or who always inspires you?
    Plants, animals, and Yoko Ono.

    Looking back, what advice would you share with someone looking to start their own company?
    You can do things your own way: there's no one way to be successful. We've deliberately grown slowly but surely, and that has worked really well for the kind of lives we want to have.

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