I might as well begin this article by telling you that I believe SAÏA London has done for yoga what Hérmes did for equestrians.
Bikram class ends. You wipe the beading sweat from your brow and surface germs with an antibacterial spray and proceed to scroll, methodically, because a perfect scroll after yoga class makes sense. As you tab the velcro closures and lasso the generic, synthetic, rope-like strap over one shoulder, you think…. Do luxury yoga mat bags exist?
Okay, so maybe your thought process and questioning is a little different. These were certainly some of Kristina Byrnes early considerations.
How could she go from the yoga studio to the office or home with a little more, shall we call it ‘style savvy’ over her shoulder? A few years back, the fashion industry embraced a multi-functional sport apparel and titled it Athleisure. Might they not, too, endorse an elevated yoga mat bag?
In a Cindarella-like story, Kristina has transformed the ‘functional’ yoga mat bag into a statement; what’s more, an ethical, sustainable, luxurious timepiece for the modern yogi.
During her time as Commercial Director for Fashion Week Mexico, Kristina researched and developed her product over 18 months, influenced by her everyday exposure to trends and success stories. Her grandmother worked as a seamstress for many years and together, they created a prototype. You would never guess these carry bags weren’t genuine, high quality leather – even leather craftspersons have had trouble identifying leather to the vegan substitute.
Technology is remarkable and has equipped Kristina and her team not only with a sustainable, premium quality material but the engineering to ensure precision. In each carry bag you will find leatherette straps and golden hardware to securely stow your mat and a pocket ideal for carrying your mobile phone and keys.
SAÏA London may be relatively new to market – I fell head over heels when I found them – though Kristina has already signed distribution contracts with Harrods, Wolf & Badger and The Maiyet Collective.
Personally, Kristina was empowered by her great-grandmother’s journey; who as a young girl, sold a cow from her family’s farm to finance a life in the city for better opportunities.
Kristina describes the Native American term SAÏA as ‘a woman who wins’: a beautiful tribute to both her great-grandmother and the thousands of women in our circular community. SAÏA London donates 5% to Girls Education.
I was humbled by Kristina’s devotion to female empowerment and deep rooted family love. More often and certainly during times of adversity, women must support one another and I love that so many of our female founders, like Kristina, have made that very same commitment.
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Before the age of 10, Bethanie was already developing as an artist with writing classes, illustration, dance, theatre and piano. Later, clients from fashion, real estate and corporate sectors rounded her creative, technical and social media writing skills. Naturally, her artistic interests transposed onto film and production. Today, Bethanie hosts and produces interviews with international lifestyle brands and contributes to SNEZNY travel magazine.