I can't find the words to describe how I felt after this photo shoot that we just finished several days ago in Jaipur. Accomplished ... motivated ... maybe those two work? That's my bag in the picture. I feel like the hours I put in deciding on the shades of blue and the width of those stripes - it was all worth it after seeing these pictures.
In 2017 I made my first business trip to Jaipur. SAPANA started with block print pajamas. While there I discovered these fantastic clutches that were made from dhurrie rugs. I brought home several as gifts and everyone loved them just as much as I did. I began to order and sell clutches from premade rugs - basically "importing" these amazing bags. The more I learned about the process and the art of weaving in the Rajasthan State in particular, the more I became obsessed with them. My collection wasn't anything different than you could find from another brand importing the same - that weighed on me. One of a kind is important to me. And the story behind the bags - even more important - how was I going to tell that story?
Keep in mind - my fashion/design background - nothing on my resume. I'm an old t shirt and blue jeans kind of girl. But, quality and uniqueness are two things that I do understand. So that's where I started.
The perfect zipper, consistent leather, strong seams, lining fabric - these were my focus in the beginning. I moved onto choosing my own colors and working with one community to loom traditional patterns in my own colorways. A beautiful collection was in the beginning - but it still didn't feel "Jolie". Anytime I heard of another brand making similar bags, I was tempted to quit - but the idea that I wouldn't be giving orders to the village where I was weaving - that crushed me.
Designing my own rugs was the only option to move forward. That's what you are starting to see now - patterns and colors that are completely "SAPANA". Can I tell you how scary this is? No pressure at all, right? If I want to keep those looms filled and our makers working - I have to come up with designs that you're going to love (and teach myself how to use certain software programs, forecast colors, the math that's involved - let's not even go there).
Then, this happened, this photoshoot. I saw the pictures and kind of felt like I did in the 80's when I had my Glamor Shots done. (Google that and laugh if you don't know what I mean). Our model, the setting, the photographer, the styling ... everything came together better than I could have imagined. Now, I feel like I can capture your attention and tell the story - explain to you why these bags are so important to me.
New shapes are next. They're certainly different and I hope you love them.
As our woven collection evolves one thing will stay a constant. The artistry of hand loomed, flat weave dhurries from India. I'm obsessed. And after seeing the pictures from our shoot - I'm inspired and motivated to grow the line more than ever.
** Until our collection is 100% SAPANA originals I'll continue to support the weaving community by purchasing additional rugs. When you are online shopping and see "SAPANA original" referring to a design - that's all me. That phrase is how you'll know it's truly a SAPANA bag from start to finish.