Our favorite thing about SALT handbag straps is that they look like giant colorful friendship bracelets – but what else would you expect from two business partners and BFFs? Despite being thick-and-thin partners for life, SALT co-founders Marla Toplitzky and Kacy Lubell never intended on going into business together.
“We were just chatting one day about merging two products we loved – a detachable bag strap and the beautiful woven strap on a Wayúu bag – and were like, “Well, we could make a few samples and see what happens? We went from selling to our friends to a 12,000-person waitlist overnight. It was crazy!”
Splashed across the internet as the must-have accessory for busy, stylish moms, detachable SALT handbag straps are up there with No.6 clogs and Kamm pants. The thick, vibrant strap looks like a guitar strap, with hooks you can clip to your favorite handbag… or camera (a fun discovery on the SALT Insta feed). Each strap is hand-woven by local Wayúu artisans in the La Guajira region of northern Colombia. Through their partnership with Nest, a nonprofit that works with a global network of artisans (especially women), SALT is helping Wayúu handworkers grow their businesses, while preserving their traditions, cultures, and beliefs.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Marla and Kacy created the limited-edition PINK Strap, with 50% of the proceeds going to F*ck Cancer. “It’s a cause that’s important to us because it impacts so many people, and [F*ck Cancer] emphasizes prevention and early intervention. That saves people’s lives! As a women-owned and led company, we feel it’s our responsibility to take every chance we can to help,” says Marla.
Of course, both women know exactly what makes moms tick – they have five children between them, all under age 10! The Awesome News asked Marla and Kacy to share the highs and lows of parenting.
So, how did you come up with the name, SALT?
Marla: We wanted to play on the idea of an accessory that adds dimension, brightness and/or spice to an existing item. As in, just add SALT to your bag for some extra flavor!
What’s it like being in business with your best friend?
Kacy: Incredibly fun and funny! For us, even the most boring conference call is hysterical. It’s also incredibly helpful that we don’t have to check our personal lives at the door when we come to work. We can talk and support each other as friends while running the business. We know exactly what each of us is trying to juggle at any given time.
Marla: Often we text until midnight (at least) and share, literally, every idea that pops into our heads. We almost always know what the other is thinking, which comes in handy! We work around each other’s lives and schedules. It feels like a family business.
Why did you decide to partner with Nest?
Kacy: We partnered with NEST to ensure that our production is safe, fair and socially responsible for our artisans – and that we help them grow and thrive economically. We’re beyond excited to be taking a trip together to Colombia in November to spend time with the artisans in their communities! We want to truly understand how best to support them.
What is your biggest challenge as a business owner and mom?
Marla: There are not enough hours in the day to do both full-on. You always feel behind in one or the other.
What’s been your proudest moment as business owners and moms?
Kacy: When our kids spot SALT straps on the streets of New York and beyond. They’ll shout, “LOOK, MOM! A DUKE STRAP!” It’s hard to articulate how good that feels – their pride in us.
Six Ways to Look Good & Feel Good About Supporting Cancer Research
SALT The PINK Strap: This breathable handwoven strap adds an eclectic touch to your favorite handbag – with 50% of proceeds donated to F*ck Cancer.M.Gemi x F Cancer Women’s Laces: M.Gemi and F*ck Cancer joined forces on a collection of unashamedly bold statement pieces to boost cancer awareness. These Italian-made shoelaces slot effortlessly into your wardrobe – and 100% of your purchase goes to F*ck Cancer.Girlfriend Collective 1 in 8 Tee: In the US alone, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Purchase this unique hand-dyed tee and 100% of proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Vans Breast Cancer Awareness SK8-HI: Vans created its quirky-cool collection with UK charity CoppaFeel!, founded by Kristin Hallenga, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at just 23. The line sends a strong message to young people: Stamp out late detection by educating yourself about your breasts. A portion of proceeds from the collection will benefit CoppaFeel!.Naked Cashmere Puff Love Slippers: For every purchase of these luxuriously soft, pom-topped slippers, Naked Cashmere will donate $25 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
K Kane Chain Letter Neon Bracelet: A fun, bright addition to your arm party, or as a cheery standalone statement, 50% of the purchase price of any pink cord bracelet will be donated to The Pink Agenda.