I have to admit, before I was approached by this brand, I wasn’t really aware Sambag. After a little research and a trip to the High Street Boutqiue in Prahran, I’m officially converted!
The first word that struck me when I entered the store was ‘Quality’.
I’m going to cut to the chase: this label will not be in everyone’s budget. If you do need that extra bit of encouragement, just have to smell the quality leather and gaze over craftsmanship of the more delicate pieces. You will know straight away that these are investment garments that will last the test of time.
In 2016, SamBag celebrated it’s 20th year in the fashion industry and this years VAMMF is a celebration as being part of the 21st.
She Does This caught up with founder, CEO and creative director, Sam Wagner to discuss her success in fashion and how she manages to do it all…
For those who aren’t familiar with Sambag, can you summarise the look and feel of the label?
Sambag is classic and timeless. It’s for women on the go who invest in staple, on trend pieces which can be worn season after season. We are known for using beautiful leathers, soft cashmeres and delicate silks each collection. We are of course most known for our ballet flats which we re-launch every season in new up bit beat prints and fabrications. Sambag pride ourselves on quality, ensuring all pieces look good and work for everyday wear.
Sambag celebrated it’s 20 year anniversary in 2016- such a huge accomplishment! Can you tell us a bit about how you go started?
I was on holiday in New York when I was struck with the vision of an accessories brand to create based on colour, quality and captivating designs.
Returning to Sydney, I launched Sambag in 1996 with a stall at the Paddington Markets, selling bags only. As my customer base grew, so did the demand for my product. I then ventured into shoe wear, later apparel, opening up my first stand-alone store in leafy Woollahra in 2005. Two decades on and there are now 5 stores and a fast growing online boutique.
So you’re the founder, CEO and creative director of the brand, how do you achieve work-life balance?
It’s definitely important to enjoy a great social life and not to be to consumed with work, even though it is a huge part of my life. I feel it is important to have me time & family time. Using time efficiently is an important skill and can cut stress and save hours in the day for yourself.
How have you managed to stay on trend and relevant for such a long time? What’s been your secret to long-term success?
My designs are classic; they are investment pieces which last life time. I try to keep my product simple and timeless, styles which will never date and can be worn season after season. Although I definitely try to add a variety of fun seasonal trends to stay relevant and to keep things interesting.
The brand has definitely evolved over the years. We have introduced styles which can be suitable for all age groups. Trends of the moment with a Sambag twist, keeping on brand and providing product which you simply can’t get from anywhere else. Producing high quality product has definitely been the secret to my long-term success.
Sambag has been worn by iconic celebrities such as Elle Macpherson, Naomi Watts and Jesinta Campbell just to name a few. How do you feel when you see your items on such influential women?!
It’s an amazing feeling, I am thrilled to see such inspiring, influential women in my designs. It gives me great satisfaction knowing they love the brand.
On a personal or professional level, which women inspire you?
I would have to say Carla Zampatti, Michele Obama and Elle MacPherson, all very different and all inspire me in different ways. Whether it’s from a business sense or in my personal life, they are all extremely passionate women and take pride in what they do. They inspire me to succeed and to be the best version of myself.
What advice would you have for women wanting to start their own fashion labels? What are your do’s and don’ts?
Work hard and don’t be afraid to take risks. Consider the risks and reward, invest in good quality product, ensure you have a strong business plan in place and make sure you have a point of difference. Think outside the box and get to know your customer base.
In regards to the do not do’s? Don’t rush into making decisions, think whether is it the right move for your label.
Thank you to SBPR for facilitating this feature