You may have heard of the buzzy, artisan-woven straps that exploded onto the NYC fashion scene, after they were featured in the New York Times. You may not know that they are female-founded and that giving back is a major part of who they are as a brand.
In celebration of our limited-edition strap collab with them (available now!), we sat down with the founders to find out how they get it all done and how they do good along the way.
Kacy Lubell and Marla Toplitzky
Finish this sentence – I’m a woman on a mission to:
K: Build a brand that makes life a little brighter and easier for women as they go about their days, improve the lives of our artisans and their families through our partnership and always set a strong, loving example for my kids.
M: Help grow a women-led global economy, set a fearless example for my children, create a strong conscious brand and enjoy doing it all every day.
What cause or issue are you most passionate about?
K: Everytown, an organization that encourages Americans to work together to end gun violence and build safer communities. It’s something I think about every single day.
M: A Caring Hand, an organization that helps support children who have lost a parent. I joined their board this past year and feel that there is an incredible need to give these children a safe and comforting place to realize that they are not alone.
Could you tell us how you started Salt? What inspired it?
K: It all started with a Wayuu Mochila bag I grabbed at a Brooklyn flea market. I brought it on a girl’s trip to Tulum with Marla.
M: We couldn’t stop talking about how good the strap would look with my leather bag—and also how much more comfortable it was than the average thin leather strap. We decided to try to make an attachable version.
Did you always know you wanted to design accessories? Or be in the fashion space?
K: Not necessarily. I’ve definitely always been drawn to design. I had a letterpress stationery company for a period of time and also was recruited to help stage homes at one point because I love interiors. More than anything, though, Marla and I have just always been on this joint quest to find the perfect versions of our staples—denim shirts, jeans, whatever. Then we had this idea and the rest is history.
M: I’ve worked in the fashion space for my entire career—from DVF to Joie to Current/Elliott. So, yes, I have always been in this world. I never knew I would end up with an accessories line, but I’m so glad it happened and with one of my dearest friends.
What was the biggest challenge you faced along the way?
K: We literally exploded onto the scene overnight. When the New York Times article hit (which was totally organic), we were so unprepared. We didn’t have the necessary infrastructure in place, let alone the stock! The morning the story ran in the paper, we had to hustle like crazy. I came down with the stomach flu. So, that didn’t help. (Ugh.)
M: Kacy was packing orders on my couch, while turning progressively green. We were literally walking loads and loads of orders to the post office in a stroller. Seriously. Within a day, we were completely sold out and on pre-order for the next several months. We’re just now catching up!
How did you go about infusing doing good and giving back into your business model?
K: There was no way we could make this product without giving back to the Wayuu community. We never even considered it. We looked for a giving partner from day one.
M: First, we partnered with a foundation that helps support the local community on the Guajira Peninsula, in general, which was rewarding. Then, recently, we were introduced to Nest, an organization that supports global artisans by promoting sustainability, transparency and entrepreneurship. It’s such a perfect fit. We’re thrilled to be able to directly help these craftswomen grow their businesses.
You are both working mamas – how has motherhood changed your working style, if at all?
K: Well, I stayed at home with my kids for many years before this, so, in a way, my adjustment is the other way around: working has affected my motherhood style. Mostly, I’m just always struggling to find the balance that most women seek—and I’m trying to clean myself up a bit more!
M: In all my years as a working mother, this period has probably been my most demanding and rewarding. It is so meaningful to me to be able to model this for my kids. They know that I work hard, that I’m super passionate about what I do and that Kacy and I have built this ourselves from an idea to a reality. I try to get them involved as much as possible. I want them to feel like this is theirs too!
As New Yorkers too, we love to ask – Manhattan or Brooklyn?
#1 favorite thing about NYC?
K: The diversity—of people, of neighborhoods, of ideas. I love walking out my door and instantly being a part of a crazy scene. Having everything at your fingertips—the food, the arts, the vibe, the people. It’s all a constant source of inspiration.
M: The people. New Yorkers are a unique bunch. Obviously, we’re all different, but there’s a collective understanding here about the way you interact with the world. You work hard, you dream up ideas, you are single-minded in a way, but, if someone slips on the sidewalk, you stop everything and help them up.
SHOP THE FEED X SALT STRAP, PAIRED WITH OUR ICONIC ELEANOR CROSSBODY BAG, BEFORE THEY SELL OUT!