A few months back, we came across this new trend in and around NYC... Chic moms could be seen wearing what The New York Times later-coined "the mom uniform" — skinny jeans, wooden clogs, and a bag with this uniquely colorful shoulder strap. We noticed these woven shoulder straps at the park... at the grocery store... out at local eats... And finally figured out that what we were seeing was the SALT strap, which obviously we had to have right away! SALT straps are the perfect upgrade to any bag you have in your closet, and they elevate just about any outfit with a pop of color! In addition to all that, they are super comfy too - so it's a win-win all around!
Kacy Lubell and Marla Toplitzky are the two mamas behind the brand, and it was on a fateful girls’ trip to Tulum that they found the project on which they were to collaborate. Kacy was toting a Wayuu mochila bag that she'd found at a local Brooklyn flea market, and as Marla admired it, they got to talking about the wide strap, the weave and how it would be an awesome addition to a more structured purse. Just like that, SALT was born—the perfect accessory to your accessory. We got to talking with Marla and Kacy about all things style and mamahood, and here’s what they had to say…
We are so obsessed with your SALT straps! How did you come up with the idea?
K: I bought a Wayuu mochila bag at a local flea market and became obsessed with the strap. I wanted to put it on all my bags, but it wasn’t detachable. I showed it to Marla and we were like, “This is totally possible.” We had a couple commissioned as tests in more modern colorways and then had leather and hardware added here in NYC. When we saw our first finished sample, we fell in love and felt we had created something really fun in a unique category.
What is the creative process behind SALT? How do you come up with new pattern ideas and how do find inspiration?
M: Lots and lots of trials, drawings and experiments. We pour over color swatches, photos and just basically take everything around us in. Any color combination can spark an idea for a strap, from a vintage dress in one of our closets to cute wrapping paper for our kids’ birthday gifts. Anything and everything. We also have a very similar aesthetic, and know what we love, and are major fans of certain colors, so we started with those, and then of course named our first set of straps after our children.
As working mamas, how do you manage your time with your work and kiddos? Do you find the balance easy or hard to achieve? Are there certain rituals you have that make that whole process feel easier?
M: The balance is what it is. I can’t imagine not working and I think it’s a good lesson for my kids; I love having them help with SALT. They feel super involved in a way they have never been in my career before, I guess because I feel more ownership. So, even if the balance isn’t always totally there, I think it’s a great experience for all of us right now.
As for my rituals, I have an incredible community I can rely on who I know my kids love, and I make sure I take time for myself, even though that can be hard. Whether it’s to work out or get together with my girlfriends, spend alone time with my husband, I need that time. And, honestly, now I get to work for myself with a dear friend, and we make sure to celebrate every success. That’s new to me and feels good.
K: Up until this year, I was home with my kids full-time, so this is a major adjustment for me. I try to surround myself with supportive people, who my children love, who can help me when I need a hand. And I make time to hang with my husband sans kids. Coming home to the boys at the end of the day has been so fun and new to me. As far as unwinding, I have this weird thing with true crime docs and podcasts. I love any sort of face mask, and I can’t live without coffee and red wine.
Can you both describe what your “mom uniform” is?
M: I wear way too many Current/Elliott gray t-shirts. It’s a serious addiction. I usually wear them tucked into Mother or A Golde Jeans. My other go-to uniform is a chambray shirt and jeans. The truth is that I worked at Current/Elliott for years, so I do still fall hard for my C/E chambray in lots of iterations. I live in No.6 clogs, Isabel Marant Slides and New Balance sneakers. Oh, I also wear a lot of white Zara tops! (We both do!). Of course, this is now always paired with a SALT strap, most recently I can’t stop wearing the Jack.
K: Most recently, I’m wearing the new Flora skinny SALT strap with Mother, Madewell or Rebecca Taylor jeans with a tucked in gray tee (American Apparel made the best ones!), a white H & M linen tee or J Crew or Current/Elliott chambray shirt. On my feet: Nike high tops, No. 6 clogs or Beatrice Valenzuela slides in summer.
If Marla is wearing a chambray shirt, then I’ll do the gray t-shirt and vice-versa. It’s a big (embarrassing) problem, as we tend to show up in exactly the same thing. Summer is easier because our dresses are not all exactly alike, though we def have a bunch in common!
Our motto is “motherhood is a sisterhood.” How important has the mama community been for you, both personally and professionally?
K: We are both moms with crazy schedules; almost all our friends are moms with crazy schedules. We supported each other before we were moms and, now that we have kids, that just adds another level of understanding. We all just talk, vent and are just like, “I get it.” And that’s hugely comforting.
What’s next on the horizon for SALT straps? Will you be adding additional straps and/or other products that are in line with “the mom uniform”?
M: We don’t really see the SALT strap as a uniform thing, though we totally appreciate the NYT coining the term! We want people of every kind, everywhere, to feel like they can wear our straps. We’re working on new color weaves, leathers, yarns, hardware, widths and more! Super psyched for springy/summery brights and some new fun patterns to add to our collection. We’re also adding a new colored leather for summer, so that’s big for us!