From totes to backpacks and wallets, the creations by Sage to Sea Design tick nearly every box: They’re durable, versatile, and made with functionality in mind. Beauty is never sacrificed for the sake of usefulness, however; each design incorporates a minimalist aesthetic, clean lines, and colors inspired by nature. Best of all, a portion of every purchase is donated to a good cause.
Sage to Sea Designs is a labor of love by Sarah Larson, who started the company in 2017. Larson says she learned to sew from her mother, who in turn learned from Larson’s great-grandmother; in fact, Larson and her mother designed Sarah’s very first piece (a “simple little backpack”) together. Larson was immediately hooked, and after plenty of trial and error, honed her craft into the thriving business it is today.
While the majority of production is still carried out by Larson herself, she has two part-time employees and receives occasional help from her husband, namely during farmers markets and around the holiday season. From start to finish, it takes about five to six hours to make a bag.
“I start with all raw materials, so with hides of leather and designs that I create myself,” Larson says of her process. “And I hand-cut all the patterns– I mean, 100% is done by hand.”
Moreover, Larson is proud of the raw materials she uses for each bag, and all Sage to Sea creations are made of domestic leather. Larson sources her leather from three different tanneries, all of which are among the oldest tanneries in the country.
“The cost of my raw materials are so high because I’ve tried so many different leathers, and once you have the best, you just can’t go back,” Larson says. “That’s something that I’m really proud of– the time that I’ve put into finding the best of the best that’s out there.”
To learn more about Larson’s process, you can visit Sage to Sea Designs online or chat with Larson in person at the Bellingham Farmers Market. Having moved to Bellingham just two years ago, the market has been a way for Larson to “develop a sense of place in Bellingham, meet other makers, and develop community.”
“Talking to the person who comes up to the booth and asks questions about the process and seems interested, that’s just as satisfying as actually selling a piece,” she says.
But while Larson prides herself on producing high-quality work, Sage to Sea is about more than bags alone. Larson’s career background is with nonprofits, and as such, she carries a passion for mission-driven work into her own small business. 5% of all profits are donated to mission-driven organizations; for the remainder of 2022, this percentage will go to groups supporting reproductive rights.
“Designing and making and selling bags fulfills a really big part of me– but it doesn’t feed every part of me,” Larson says. “Something I’m always thinking about is how can I make more meaning out of this work, and have a broader impact? Slow fashion and shopping small is really important in and of itself, but I want to do more.”
To learn more about the art and activism behind Sage to Sea Designs, visit Larson online or on social media @sagetoseadesigns. Bellingham, sagetoseadesigns.com