It’s now officially the week after Labor Day, and for many people, that means putting aside summer clothes and accessories. But one brand wants you to rethink sticking your straw bags in the attic until next summer.
Two years ago, entrepreneur Ashleigh Hults launched a straw bag accessories brand called Poolside. While straw bags have always been a fun summer accessory, Poolside put a fresh twist on them that made them quite the opposite of what you might expect from resort brands like Lily Pulitzer. On the website you could purchase bags with irreverent phrases on them, like “Zero Fucks Given” and rap lyrics like “Sip champagne when we thirsty.” You could also customize them with your own name or sayings.
The bags–which cost between $100 and $300–were immediately popular with the Hamptons crowd, and became a celebrity sensation, with fans including Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Chrissy Teigen, and Gwyneth Paltrow. The brand has been picked up by luxury retailers like Shop Bop, Bergdorf, and the boutique at the Four Seasons Hotel. And Poolside has sparked a broader trend in the industry: Many brands, including Kate Spade and Rebecca Minkoff, have started selling straw bags with cheeky sayings on them.
But for Hults, the challenge has been to grow her business by making her bags more than a summertime trend. To that end, Hults has created straw bags that are designed to look good in colder seasons. For instance, she’s just launched a bag with a leopard print and straw belt bags with leather trims. And brands like Moda Operandi are now selling these products into the fall, winter, and spring–effectively transforming the straw bag into an all-year-round accessory.
For Hults, driving the trend of the seasonless straw bag not only helps her business, but it also creates more consistent employment for the women who make these bags in female-run factories in Morocco, India, and Brazil.