Lily Fischer, ALANGOO.com
Sarah’s bag is an internationally successful accessories business that began in 2000 with nothing but some beads, an investment of 200 dollars, and a community of convicts and ex-convicts, many of whom had been prostitutes, from a women’s prison in Beirut. Sarah Beydoun, the company’s founder, creative director and sole owner has a sociology background and completed her masters thesis on prostitution. She reached a point where she saw opportunity, and could no longer to continue what she was doing.
“Actually, this started as a social project,” says Sarah, but “When things like this cross your path, you can’t just walk away. I had to do something about it”. The method she used took her artwork, painted on canvas, and commissioned beading by prisoners to create a line of handbags for which the price was smart and the level of craftsmanship impeccable. She created a circle of work that spread a strong social message, creation for those who could use it, and a beautiful product that quickly began gaining recognition all over the world.
By the summer of 2001, everything she created was selling out. The Arab community of tourists in Lebanon loved the style and spread the word, and after some trial and error, trade shows in Paris began to give the brand significant traction as well. However, it was a different audience. The French fashion world seemed to care more about design than the story, which was the most important aspect to Sarah. She had to adapt, and so she expanded and adapted.
Today, at the flagship store on rue du Libon in Beirut features several rooms showcasing bags by theme- classic Sarah’s bag, a pop art collection, and a series of retro street scenes. There is a bag for every customer, and work for every prisoner. Sarah does not call herself a designer, but simply a pioneer of untapped opportunity, and has done remarkably and meaningful work Asa. Result of it.