SJMade ’18: Sumsaara

A colorful community means a flourishing collective of local makers and small businesses. Whether it be through craft fairs or pop-up shops, San Jose Made is a significant driver of maker culture in the Bay Area. This couldn’t be more evident than through its annual San Jose Craft Holiday Fair, an event which consists of over 250 craft makers, food vendors, artists, designers, and emerging brands coalescing under the tent-like dome of South Hall. Fittingly located in Silicon Valley’s creative district SoFA—an area brimming with colorful galleries and lively murals—SJMADE’s seasonal event offers brands an optimal opportunity to connect with new customers as well as each other. Join the excitement on the 15th and 16th of December from 11 am to 5 pm.

In anticipation of the event, allow us to introduce you to a few of the compelling makers partnering with SJMADE.

Sumsaara by Jannat Saxena

Initially, Jannat Saxena designed Sumsaara’s trademark clutch purse as a present for her mom. “Every Christmas or birthday, she would always encourage me to handmake a gift for her,” Saxena explains, “something that was unusual versus buying it at the store.” A month out of college and Saxena had already progressed that design into a business.

Whether Saxena’s customers choose a birch or walnut wood exterior, and whether they select a solid or patterned cork fabric interior—all of the Sumsaara line is fashioned to act as wearable art. Saxena even designed these clutches to be exhibited upon the owner’s return home. The purse’s origami-like design unfolds into a delightfully displayable work of art for a side table or bookshelf. Besides being handcrafted, locally-made, and sleek, it’s also formed with vegan, eco-friendly, and sustainable materials. By Saxena’s reasoning, a purse shouldn’t simply be beautiful or functional or environmentally responsible—it should be all three. Sumsaara, a Sanskrit word meaning the never-ending cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth, fits well with the multi-tasking nature of the product.

Recently, Saxena celebrated her company’s first-year mark. “My confidence has grown since I’ve started,” she notes. “I’ve become a lot more aware about how to present things: how to present myself and how to present my work.” She undergoes a busy weekly schedule, manufacturing purses during weekdays (everything from sanding and oiling the wood to cutting and sewing the fabric), then attending maker events during weekends. Her handiwork can be tracked down online, at popups and maker markets (including San Jose Made), and even within the store at art museum SFMOMA.


Instagram: sumsaara.designs


Written by Johanna Hickle
Photography by Arabela Espinoza

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