Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Countdown of Summer Essentials: Saky Sacks creates Eco-Luxury

Last weekend, I sat down to coffee with a eco-visionary & phenomenally stylish woman. Creator and Founder Rupa Wickrama launched Saky Sacks over a year ago in March 2010. These beauties are perfect for Summer and kick-off our Summer Countdown as they are quickly becoming the Prada of reusable bags with reviews toting that they get better with age. But welcome to the Eco-friendly era where once your bag has gotten to the point of no return because you’ve schlepped it everywhere from the gym to the airport, you can easily send it in to Saky Sacks to be recycled. Brilliant wouldn’t you say? A company offering to actually do something for me is blowing my mind. Recently I’ve become painstakingly aware of customer service on the steep decline as companies cut costs and we the consumers pay the price. Rude call center lemmings and the new “customer is always wrong” attitude has me fuming. Saky Sacks flips the script and offers up first class service. (Remember she was trained by T. Eaton Co.) They are epitomizing the idea of Eco-luxury.

It’s no wonder that Saky Sacks has found quick success. Wickrama has experience. She began as a retail buyer for Eaton’s (think Nordstroms’ of Canada) and after seven years she began traveling the world as a wholesale buyer for both the US and Canadian markets. Honing her fashion expertise along the way, she truly became a Citizen of the World as she saw production from the ground up in Asia, Europe and North America. She was directly involved in the manufacturing and sourcing negotiations for major players in the fashion game. From dyeing, to printing and finishing, Rupa attained tons of real world experience. So after joining the ranks and reaching success in the corporate world it is no surprise Rupa returned to her fashion and designing roots. She spent over a year tirelessly making a solid business plan by doing product and market research. Rupa bought and sampled every reusable bag there was, conducted a study and the Saky Sack was born.

Who says a woman launching a company in the middle of a recession (err...depression) is a bad idea? The flailing economy made a huge impact on business practices in both good and bad ways. Though the bags are designed in the USA she has found it necessary to do much of her production overseas due to high production costs in the United States but maintains ethical practices in her line. However, on the upside the economic climate has opened many more doors for small businesses as large brands and businesses are looking to use more of a grass roots approach to promos and marketing. This is
cost effective and small companies are usually more apt to stick to strict quality standards as they develop a new following and clientele base. Saky Sacks is proudly working with DuPont (TM), an American company, who developed the Tyvek(r) that gives Saky Sacks its signature appeal and durability.

Quick Highlight of Saky Sacks Perks for Parents:
Keeps things dry
Seperate dirty kids clothes on the go
Machine washable-woohoo
Very affordable ($20 for The City Saky & $25 for The Saky Weekend
Recyclable (See instructions here)
Many moms have said that it’s the perfect Disneyland bag

Summer Travel Alert!!Get this. It is airline compatible. Rupa offers a smart tip: put your purse, your vacay trinkets, overpriced airline snacks and kids toys into your Saky Weekend bag and voila! You have downsized and are conforming to the airline standards as it can be stored underneath your seats. Because it very neatly folds up, you can pack it when you depart and then take it out on your returning flight to use as your carry-on. So simple and practical-I love it!

Part of Rupa’s research was the very basis for the idea behind Saky Sacks. While sitting under the dryer at Gene Juarez, Rupa noticed women carrying the inevitable second bag which was usually a grocery store bag. Not so shabby chic. It has become a mainstay in our society as more and more grocery stores are offering the 99 cent bag and offering rebates for bringing it back each time. We try to repurpose them but we end up gathering these bags and then we toss them out over time. How economical and Eco-friendly is that? Inks and dyes that are used to decorate and design many other bags are simply toxic. There has got to be a better and more stylish way to carry it all with us as we try and do it all.. We all have nice, perhaps even designer, hand bags but with the necessity of a second bag, women will only carry and use these bags when they are nice enough to be seen as another accessory.

Saky Sacks offers a variety of classic and high styled prints and patterns personally picked out by Rupa. The are the ever popular floral patterns and this Ikat (pronounced Eee-kat) seen here is a centuries old design seen in Asian, Persian and Indian artwork. Though the borders of these lands have changed over time, patterns such as Ikat and the highly sought after Suzana are timeless designs reflecting the focus on longevity and high style that Saky Sacks founder Wickrama posesses.

Now Rupa is aware that people have less money these days and disdains the idea of disposable fashion. “It doesn’t makes sense in this day and age to buy entire wardrobes each season.” She advocates buying less and buying better all at the same time. Saky Sacks are high quality bags. Featuring padded handles, they are crease resistant so it will always be show-off ready and carries 25 lbs. There is an interior clasp to keep your contents safe and sound. In addition to being tear-resistant, they will also protect your things from the rain. This is key especially if you are living in the PNW. Seriously after all that, you have me sold.

She has a far greater reach than little old me, let me tell you. Heard of Sara McLachlan, the Biebs, Miley Cyrus the band Train? Well, they are in possession of this coveted bag. Justin Bieber’s is camoflouge to be exact and love him or not, camo is hot right now. Coincidence? Check out this camo ensemble from NY Fashion week featuring my pick of roman sandals for Spring 2011. Also see their Press Page here for more news on this growing company. It’s hot. She was contacted by Dick Clark Productions and her bags have been gifted major celebrities at such high profile events as The Academy of Country Music Awards. At one point she found herself on a conference call discussing Miley Cyrus and her bands bag design preferences, and Rupa was absolutely amazed her little “start-up” was blowing up! Featured in this months Bop & Tiger Beat as a beach essential for the celeb-types, Saky Sacks are penetrating the luxury market at full force.

Saky Sack is another brand that I am just pleased with all around. Amazing price points, reusable, washable and gorgeous designs all add up to- yes! si! oui! The creation of the designer reusable back is so ahead of it’s time but then again, I think that we are in true need for it. Rupa saw an opening in today’s bag market and filled that void with Saky Sacks. I am embracing this eco-luxury movement wholeheartedly.

And something money cannot buy? Rupa left me with these priceless fashion pearls:

Style is something you are born with. Either you got it or your don’t. It has nothing to do with labels. Innovation in fashion starts in streets of Zurich, Paris, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam & New York. It’s not those ones buying it who start the trends. You have to look at the people for your inspiration in fashion and design and that’s what I did with Saky Sacks.

Saky Sacks was kind enough to gift me two of my own Saky Sacks one in each size and I cannot wait. I’ll be doing a little experiment of my own. Follow me on twitter @Saks2Salvation as me and my new Saky Sack go around town. We will see how many uses we can find for ours over the course of a month. I wonder how many it’ll be...


Are there any germaphobes out there? Perhaps you should stop reading this now. For the strong out there, a 2010 study found extremely harmful bacteria including E.Coli at the bottoms of many everyday reusable bags after repeated use. I find myself becoming nauseus right now. So gross! Thankfully Saky Sacks are washable and New California legislation is being reintroduced with these stipulations for reusable bags:

1. must be washable

2. must have attached care instructions labels just as garments

3. chemical make up cannot exceed toxic levels