There are good chances you already came across one of Sarah Beydoun’s electric and funky purses from her own brand Sarah’s Bag. They sometimes look like pills (chill pills as we could all need one at some point), have a beaded watermelon on or Arabic arabesques, and all give a daring and exciting touch to basically any look you could ever think of.
But behind the glitters and the chic, Sarah’s Bag is also a philanthropic brand that put a real emphasis on different sociological matters such as the training of women in jail, who collaborate to the making of the the different pieces of the collections.
Sarah, tell us a little bit about your brand
Actually it’s a 16 year old brand. I didn’t study design, I studied sociology and did a piece on prostitution in Lebanon. It was an overview of the whole milieu of prostitution and to do this, I had to spend 6 months at a center for woman who’ve been going through trouble of prostitution, of prison, of violence: Women who are in very bad situations. After talking to these women and spending time with them, I realized that the only way that any one can come out of a situation like this is to have an alternative and something to gain money from. This is when I thought that I could create something that these women could work on and that I would sell. So I went to the prison and started with 3 girls. It was really a social project. Slowly within 4 months, we had a team of 15 ladies and I discovered myself as a designer.
I had friends coming in and getting really intrigued about this whole project that was going on in prison and one of them told me to create a big collection and sell them. Luckily, it sold entirely at a Christmas fair we organized and that’s when I realized “You know what, I’m into something. I love doing this.”
I love the whole formula. Meaning that I love creating, I love spending time with these women and see how the work effect them, emotionally, socially, even as groups. And I also love to see women wearing our bags.
For a very long time, Sarah’s Bag was a local brand. After almost 2 years, I started branching in the Arab world, doing exhibitions and after 9 years I decided, “ you know what, I want to give it an international shot and I want to see if this program I started would continue.”
We only started to branch out internationally 8 years ago.
A heart, a beauty and a brain, found out about the rest of what we’ve discussed with Sarah in the first issue of JDEED Magazine, coming Spring 2017.