BIG 3-0: Handbag firm The Sak is celebrating its 30th anniversary through a limited-edition capsule line of 16 styles to benefit a Balinese artisan fund. The mostly crocheted and mixed-media line is being pitched to retailers for sale in March. According to founder and chief executive officer Mark Talucci, 100 percent of gross sales from the capsule will go to a fund set up by his firm to provide health-care benefits to female artisans who work from their homes in Negara, a Balinese village in Indonesia. The fund will also give each woman a goat or a lamb to provide additional income, either through milk or wool.
The Sak has roots in Bali, which was the inspiration for the first bag it produced and where many of its bags have been made over the years. Talucci said while the possibility of higher tariffs in the trade war between the U.S. and China will create greater disruption for “a lot of companies in the U.S., the craft industry was already moving out of China even before there was talk of higher tariffs. The only industry that hasn’t moved out yet is the watch industry.” He attributed the migration out of China to the “evolution of the Chinese economy, and how the Chinese government didn’t want to focus on labor-intensive” production. Talucci said tech production provided higher profitability, and that the younger generation in China has no interest in craft production. That makes Negara the ideal place for production because the artisans are “women who work from their homes,” explaining that in addition to hand crocheting and assembly, some are still using old-fashioned wooden looms.
The company’s annual volume is $150 million in retail sales. Nearly 52 million bags have been sold since 1989, and the price points range from $49 to $249 for the crochet and leather options. The Sak follows a good-better-best model. Its different lines are sold across multiple channels, including department store, specialty and off-price, as well as online and in certain overseas markets.