These two have been a team since the toddler days.READ MORE
The story of Baggu began with a simple need: Emily Sugihara (right) and her mom, Joan Sugihara, started a line of aesthetically appealing, functional, and reusable bags—the sort you turn to for hauling groceries or lugging beach gear—when neither could find versions that cut it. And so, armed with impressive design backgrounds—Emily from Parsons, and Joan from running a quilt-making biz with fans like Ralph Lauren—the duo set out to fill the void. “I worked at J.Crew for a bit and really share their love for color and the idea of simple, high-quality stuff,” Emily notes. “For the first year, we just had the one standard Baggu in eight colors.” But since it launched in 2007, the collection’s exploded, adding five more shapes—which come in countless hues and (sometimes crazy) prints—and, most recently, leather styles.
These days, Baggu—which is Japanese for bag—is HQed in Williamsburg, a big move from the first
office, the family garage in San Diego. But with Joan living on the West Coast, the design process is still very much a cross-country effort: She does the bag shapes, and Ellen van der Laan (left), the line’s creative director and Emily’s childhood bestie, oversees the overall aesthetic of the brand. “Ellen designed our logo one day after work and helped us with a ton of things relating to the line—all before we even hired her,” Emily explains. And though they want to fill the world with their creations, they’re still thoroughly green-minded. As Emily says, “From the beginning, we really wanted to make a product that lasts—so it’ll stay out of nature for as long as possible.” —jiayi ying