Popping up at Baggu, Williamsburg
The Brooklyn-based makers Baggu, who create minimalist reusable bags, wanted a simple design to display their colourful products in their flagship store. The shelving system needed to be simple, adaptable and easy to reposition around the store. Marina Bautier’s Lap Shelving was the perfect solution for this creative company as it has a mixture of trays, deep & shallow boxes with shelves to store a variety of zip pouches, canvas and nylon bags.
“We loved that Marina Bautier‘s Lap Shelving was minimal, neutral and you had the ability to adjust the metal boxes and shelves according to desired merchandising” says Head of Retail Operations at BAGGU Amanda Lucia Côté. Discovering the Lap Shelving at our retail partner in the USA, Design Within Reach (DWR), Baggu designed the store in-house searching for simple and minimal products that would suit their style of environmentally-conscious products.
“When purchasing, Baggu was interested in quality and invested in a piece that would stay with us for a long time. We liked having the ability to repurpose the shelving too.” Having moved the shelving around the space a few times, it’s taken up permanent residence in the meeting room to showcase the products for wholesale and trade customers.
“White is a big thing when showing off a bright assortment of bags in different shapes and sizes. The thin wood frame wasn’t distracting and gave the products room to breathe. The boxes fit most of our product dimensions with zip pouches, canvas bags and our nylon BAGGUs that fold up into their own pouch.” Marina designed the shelving system with this modularity and adaptability from realising the strange way people store objects in a box or on a tray that is then placed on a shelf. Instead, her solution removes the need for a shelf replacing it with a powder-coated steel metal box or tray that hangs from the solid oak frame. This worked perfectly for the Baggu store which needed a variety of ways to show the products for sale.
Baggu are an environmentally conscious bag design company, based in Brooklyn, New York and San Francisco, California. The founders, Emily Sugihara (born entrepreneur and Parsons fashion grad) and her mom Joan (master seamstress), set out in 2007 to share the minimalist bags they were sewing for themselves with bag enthusiasts everywhere.
The first Baggu bag began with a dilemma. In the winter of 2006, Sugihara, then a designer at J. Crew in New York, wanted to give some reusable shopping bags to her eco-conscious mother, Joan, who lives in Emily’s hometown of San Diego, as a Christmas present, but she couldn’t find any that were cute, well-made, and affordable. So she bought some fabric and took it home to her mother, a talented seamstress who taught her daughter to sew when she was girl. The pair began creating the bag they wanted but couldn’t find. As the design evolved, Sugihara and her mother mailed prototypes—about 100 in total—coast-to-coast through the spring of 2007.
Sugihara initially wanted to make the bags in the United States and explored several factory options around San Diego. She quickly realized that manufacturing locally would mean selling the nylon bags for upwards of $30, which did not fit into her vision of affordability. “It was very important to us to make it realistic to buy six [or more] of our bags, because that’s how many you need if you’re grocery shopping for a family,” Sugihara says. “At the same time, we didn’t want to make a bag that was so cheap that it wasn’t valued and became trash quickly.”
She eventually settled on mass producing the bags in China, which allowed Baggu to sell the grocery bags for $8 apiece. The lower price, she reasoned, would mean Baggu could have a greater impact on people’s lifestyles and replace more plastic bag use. To ensure Baggu factories comply with ethical and environmental standards, Baggu has worked with several companies, including SGS, that monitor their conditions. Though she has received some criticism for basing most of Baggu’s production in China, Sugihara stands by the decision. “This system of manufacturing in China is already in place,” she says. “Hopefully we’re actually improving the situation there by keeping our factories to an ethical mode of production.”
Today, Baggu consists of 11 employees in its office in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, plus Sugihara’s mom, who still designs for Baggu from California.