Sponsor + Artist Interview: Lynne Banach of Sakura Bloom
After such a successful reception at the EPCF Connection last season, Sakura Bloom will be joining us once again with their beautiful (and helpful!) baby carriers. They will be available again to visitors on loan, near the Effie Street and Connection entrances.
Lynne Banach founded the company in 2006, which evolved from the early days in their east coast workshop, to their coastal San Diego workshop where they craft each carrier today. A textile lover since she was a kid, Lynne just can’t get enough of the spinning and weaving, cutting and stitching processes. Sakura Bloom pairs the softest hand-dyed linens, lush hand-loomed silks, coziest bamboo, and fine cashmeres with locally tanned leathers to create three separate carrier styles, covering every stage, 7-45lbs.
We interviewed Lynne last season about her work and couldn’t miss sharing it again for those of you who missed the behind-the-scenes of this incredible mother and business-owner. Enjoy!…
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.
The simple answer is that the product I wanted to wear did not exist. But of course it’s always a longer, more windy road than that. My sister, Carole, is an anthropologist who, through her studies and travels, saw so many little babies and children around the world being carried close to their mothers and fathers using beautiful cloths. It seemed in our culture, we were doing the opposite. I immediately fell in love with carrying my first, Teja, who was born in 2005. I wanted to look for more options here, but they did not exist. I started with ring slings made of silk and soon added linen. Then, cotton, bamboo and cashmere followed. My son Jai was born in 2008, and I hired my husband, Eric, in 2012. From stitching the very first Sakura Bloom on my grandmother’s sewing machine in my kitchen to our workshop here in San Diego, it’s always been a full family affair, where I still touch every carrier sewn. Since then we’ve created two more minimalist style carriers, our Onbuhimo and Scout.
What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?
Supporting our local economy is huge to me – creating jobs, keeping our downtown indie boutiques alive, and finally, partnering with local artisans, reducing textile waste, and giving back, are majorly on my mind. From weavers to dye artists, we work with a lot of talented up-and-coming makers to bring visions to life. Knowing how textiles are made and where they come from is a major driving force. When we have extra scrap, we work with these talented artists for our zero-waste initiative that helps us reduce, reuse and recycle our textile scraps.
Do you have a favorite creation, artwork, or design of your own?
The Scout! Our newest product is a hybrid of our other carrier styles. We incorporated the best of both to be able to carry your child from the day they’re born, until they want to stop being carried (or 45lbs if you want to get technical). This style is so comfortable for both mom or dad, and we love the versatility of it. I addictively follow our hashtags #sakurabloomscout and #scoutandabout to see where these creations end up all over the world.
Do you have a daily working routine? Can you describe it?
I like to get up before everyone else in the house – around 5am. It’s so peaceful and quiet, and it’s the only time I can really focus. I organize my day: emails, to do lists, etc. Being on the west coast means I need to get ahead of the day. Then after I drop off the kids at school, I head to our workshop in Oceanside and check in with production. I make sure we have all the materials we need and that things are running smoothly. Then I check in with marketing team and plan out launches, photoshoots, website, you name it. There are never enough hours in the day! Then, Eric my husband and I, go to our local coffee shop and brainstorm. Sometimes we homeschool which is amazing because my son and daughter get to work with us. They have always been a part of Sakura Bloom whether they’ve been the inspiration, come with us on sourcing trips to India, or just come hang out at the workshop and learn how it all happens.
What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
Travel, travel, travel – and with the kids. I love seeing how families are connected around the world and of course being a textile lover, what, where and how yarns are being spun around the world. Local artists and weavers have always given me inspiration. Eric and I took weaving lessons a few years back with master weaver, Jean Degenfelder, and are just about to release our fourth collaboration with her – The Desert Collection, Vol. IV.
Do you think community is important to creativity? If so, how?
We have a super engaged and energetic, online community and they are everything to us -basically extended family, and we put great value on their opinion and experiences. Developments in colorways, textiles, or custom orders always start with listening, and then the brainstorming begins.