It is no secret that I am utterly in lust with Sandstorm Bags. If you have never laid your eyes on, or had the pleasure of touching these beautiful things, then you, my friend, are in need of guidance. 🙂
Picture Courtesy of ThreadMuse Culture
I made my way to Karen to meet up with Mark, the man behind Sandstorm Bags. He wanted to give us a special tour of the factory. I am hoping that he was not traumatized by my obvious excitement from the moment I leaped out of the car. 🙂
I will do my best to retell this journey to you, my esteemed reader, as best as I can.
Let us start with a small background story.. Sandstorm initially was a luxury tent manufacturer for various safari camps in Kenya. At some point, they decided to venture into other luxury products, of which I think the bags stood out the most. This was a brilliant move because now Sandstorm bags are one of the most sought after Kenyan brands.
So Mark had a bit of a tough time shepherding us around the workshop. We kept on getting ahead of ourselves, running off to different work stations, touching things we should not touch (sometimes smelling them behind his back 🙂 )
In the end, thanks to Mark’s patience, I present to you the steps that lead up to these beautiful bags.
Step 1: Sourcing Parts.
All the leather is sourced locally from Bata, Athi River or Sagana. The simple brass parts are cast by artisans locally while the technical brass parts are sourced elsewhere. The canvas material is also mostly locally sourced, with the nature of the materials allowing for different color options.
Step 2: Cutting
In order to minimise material wastage, every piece of leather/canvas is planned out way in advance. Sometimes to increase efficiency more volume of materials are cut in one go.
The cutting is usually done by hand. Some cutting is also done using a clipper press.
Step 3: Preparation
There are certain parts that need to be glued together ahead of stitching. This is done during the preparation stage…
Step 4: Stitching
This is the stage where the bag comes together. I managed to get a small clip of the process…
Step 5: Burning
Well, not the whole bag… 🙂
This is the stage that gets rid of all the loose hanging threads from the stitching.
Step 6: Quality Confirmation
Charles, the head of the quality department, makes sure that each and every bag is up to standard and is ready for you.
Step 7: Distribution
Once the bags are ready for the market, they head to a specific room out of which distribution to various locations takes place.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Sandstorm bags are born! 🙂
Seat covers are another popular product Sandstorm are known for.
Here are other interesting places you will spot Sandstorm bags..
With Diana Opoti of #100DaysofAfricanFashion
Kate Middleton has a sandstorm bag as an engagement present…
The Independent names Sandstorm’s bag as one of the ten best weekend bags here..
The Race4Change Team Rocking Sandstorm Bags…
London Fashion Week 2011
Sandstorm sells both locally and internationally, with a presence in 40 independent shops in the UK. Stop by their Website for further details on the brand and their store locations.