KARA's Founding Designer Sarah Law Shares Her Start-Up Story
“I liked the idea that you wear your bag, your bag doesn’t wear you.”
Launched in 2013, KARA bags went from an emerging start-up brand to being almost ubiquitous on the streets these days. In a recent interview with Cool Hunting, the minimalist NYC-based label’s founding designer Sarah Law shared her two cents on team building, reacting to her designs getting copied by fast fashion retailers, as well as her less-is-more mentality. Law also discusses the Canvas Dry Bag featured in her latest collaboration with Ace Hotel, which you can now get online for $475 USD.
To learn more about the up-and-coming bag designer, read an excerpt from the interview below, or head over here to check out the full interview.
Bonding with her team: “ … I get everybody that works for me a Champion sweatshirt. And it’s covered in these black embroideries, and as we hit milestones, we add more embroideries to them. It’s like a team sweatshirt. The back side has all of our key retailers (Opening Ceremony, Barneys, Net-a-Porter, Ssense, Shopbop), and then the front side is more like milestones that we hit. There are bigger things like new offices, I got on the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ list, [I add personalized initials to all the team members who have worked with me for more than a year].”
Responding to her designs getting copied by huge brands: “It seemed like it would easily cost over $50k to sue them … But if you were going to ask me, if I had an extra $50k, how would I spend that money? It’s more valuable to me to put that money back into my company, my employees, or to put it back into design and development, things like that.”
Branding her business and finding personal style: “We all kind of grew up with that ‘It’ bag and the ‘It’ branding. Obviously there’s something wonderful about Sex and the City but I don’t know if every girl identifies with those characters and that lifestyle, that much consumption. When I wanted to make a brand, I liked the idea that you wear your bag, your bag doesn’t wear you. I feel the same way about clothing, fashion and style. I think that it needs to come from you and not from your products, labels and logos that you’re wearing.”
Collaborating with Ace Hotel: “So the Ace Hotel collaboration came about because my friend Peter manages the Ace shop and all the merchandising for it. And that bag is one of the first bags that I designed, and everybody in the office carries it … But Peter came to me, and said, “I really want to carry one of your bags.” And I was like, “Oh yeah, you should do a backpack. We can do an exclusive material for you.” And he was like, “No, no, no. The bag that I want is the Dry Bag.” [laughs]”
- Cool Hunting
- Teresa Lam