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The Adventures and Vision behind Salty Bag
Written by Maria Perrou - Sunday, 25 January 2015
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Every day, we use a variety of bags throughout our daily routines - to go for a walk, grocery shop, stroll around or travel. We do this without putting much thought into where each bag came from, how it was made, and by whom. The Salty Bag brand aims to infuse meaning into the bags we carry around with us all day by offering the unique story behind each and every bag they produce and sell.

Salty Bag, was born and still grows in Corfu, an island in Greece, known for its over-the-top natural beauty. The brand is the result of the joined vision and forces of three people, unknown at first, like-minded though, who love sailing and respect the environment. Sailing, a beloved sea sport, requires the use of tons of sails each year, which end up in a landfill as waste after extended use, have no value and usability, and burden the environment.  Stratis, Cryssa and Spiros came up with a unique idea to alter this situation. They take those sails, which otherwise would be thrown away, record their stories and transform them into bags.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the trio behind Salty Bag and learning more about the journey behind the brand.

EFW: How and when did your “salty” story begin?

Salty Bag: In January 2013, the Corfu Sailing Club invited me to teach a sailing seminar. Two of the students in this seminar were eventually to become my partners at Salty Bag. During a break in the seminar we had occasion to meet up and discuss sailing, the wonderful stories that seem to always come out of a good sail, and importantly how we have, here in Greece, one of the most beautiful, and by far the most unique “playgrounds” in the world for sailing. Even from that early, initial, meeting it became clear that we shared the same values and the same passion for the sea, for design, as well as a nascent interest in upcycling. These interests, over long, often cocktail-fueled meetings, blended together to forge the identity and common vision that is now known as Salty Bag.  In the end, we shared a deep passion for creating unique, locally made, excellently handcrafted, upcycled products. This passion and this common vision are what drive us every day.

 

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EFW: Who are the people behind the Salty Bag brand?


Salty Bag: The team is made of Spiros Daikos, Cryssa Chalikiopoulou, and Stratis Andreadis. We all share a passion for the sea and sailing but each one of us brings something different to Salty Bag. Spiros leverages his Marketing degree and his years in the retail business to head up Salty Bag’s marketing and sales. Cryssa, a civil engineer by trade with a degree in product design from the Domus Academy in Milan does all the magic by designing each and every Salty Bag. Stratis Andreadis doesn’t much use his philosophy degree at Salty Bag. Stratis heads up business development by using his 30 years as a member of the global sailing fraternity to do everything from sourcing sails and their stories to finding new exciting places to do business in.


EFW: Companies, which create new things and products from up-cycling materials, are not a new story but the use of sailing rags certainly makes you unique. Why did you choose this material to work with?


Salty Bag: We are very happy and deeply humbled to be able to bring the unique stories of sailing to light by giving new life, and new value to sails that would otherwise have been thrown away. Sails have stories that no other material has, and we love to find out and curate these wonderful stories. We take care and time to uncover and share the unique life on the seas that each sail has lived. Some sails have raced in major championships and moved their crews through great life-moments. Some sails carry stories of tears, loss and bitter lessons learnt. Others have offered those who sailed them a well needed respite from a hard year during their holidays, or have anchored in little known coves under starry skies. Some sails emerged from storms shredded and weather-beaten. These stories inspire us, these stories are what make Salty Bags unique. The world doesn’t need another bag, we make sure you get much more than that.  

 

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EFW: Please describe the process of designing and creating a bag.


Salty Bag: Designing a Salty Bag means forming used materials into new shapes. We get to work with some very fine stories and this is thrilling to begin with. The sails that we choose depend both on the series that we are working on and the mood we get from the sail itself. We cut and wash the pieces and then it starts. Assembling a Salty Bag can take anywhere between a couple of hours hours to several days, depending on the model, material and any special requests. We have had some very unique bags come out of our workshop and it has always been a lovely time making them - every bag that we send out has a personality of its own.


Since the sails have become so special to us through the hours we have ourselves spent in the sea, we chose to name our products after some of our favorite places - bays, beaches, small islands and other places lovingly found by the sea. For example, one of our best sellers is named after a very small and quite summerish port found in Nothern Corfu, where the first sailing race of each season takes place, the Cassiopi Bay. We also have The Marina, that has not been named after a sea place but a dear friend that we love as much as the ocean. The latest name that we came up with is Psarou, after the famous Mykonos' beach. Psarou (greek for "fish-y") is our new series, launching in March 2015 - a fun project that has been keeping us on our toes for the last months.

 

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EFW: Tell us about the best part of your work.


Salty Bag: That’s easy! We get to make great, responsibly made, unique, handcrafted items that you can spend years and years enjoying. We love making the bags that people love!


EFW: What does sailing mean to you?


Salty Bag: It’s about freedom, about being on the water and enjoying nature and finding out the best our waters have to offer.


EFW: What is the message you wish to share with people buying your bags?


Salty Bag: We are so happy to be able to make something in our country, that is handcrafted, upcycled, unique and with an original story, and we are absolutely committed to making the best bags in the world in the most responsible way possible.


EFW: Please give us three words, which encapsulate the core values of the Salty Bag philosophy.


Salty Bag: Stories, Upcycling, Design

 

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EFW: Which is the most important moment up to now, of your newly born company?


Salty Bag: There isn’t a dull moment here! We were especially happy to win the Silver Award at the Enviromental Awards in Greece.


EFW: Can you walk us through “Road to Rio” and what this project means to you?


Salty Bag: It’s simple, but at the same time unique, a little bit like our bags. Let me explain…

 

1.    Sailing teams hoping to race in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 donate decommissioned sails to us.

 

2.    We get to find out and share some fantastic stories and make some very unique Salty Bags from them.

 

3.    We donate the profits to the teams.

 

4.    We repeat steps 1-3 until these talented athletes arrive in Rio, in 2016, better prepared to take on the world with the colors of Greece.


Let us explain how we came up with this project: When we started Salty Bag we decided we should constantly look for interesting ways to do good. Since we are an upcycling company that collects decommissioned sails and their stories to make unique bags, we decided to take a look at where inspiring stories come from. Inspiring stories come from unique life moments. Top-level sailing campaigns offer some of the most inspiring life moments. They offer the chance to talented sailors to rise to the pinnacle of their sport and leave them with lessons for a lifetime that they then bring back to inspire the next generations of athletes. Sailing campaigns are costly and logistically complex, requiring sailors who want to compete in, and win, world-class events to spend a lot of time and effort getting to each event. We just want to make it a bit easier for them so they can do what they do best - make their sailboats go fast and win medals for Greece.

 

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EFW: In your e-shop, you share some “salty rules.”  If you had to choose the most essential one, what would it be?


Salty Bag: We simply couldn’t, they all make up a great big whole that expresses what we are about and how we do things. 


EFW: As the poem of Kavafis goes, “What is important is the trip, not the destination.» What is important for Salty Bag’s «trip» and what are your next plans and projects?


Salty Bag: In 2015, we will be expanding outside Greece for the first time. This year we will be also introducing a couple of new series as well as firming up collaboration with some leading fashion houses in Greece. It’s a lot, but it’s what we love to do!


The Salty Bag brand continues to grow in a context of ethical and sustainable trade, respecting the environment and utilizing unique up-cycling techniques, in order to provide us with stylish and inspiring bags. The story behind this venture enhances the real virtue of cooperation and the wonderful results that come when people work on shared vision and values. Together, we can always create something more.



 

 

 

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