TheSophisticated Travel Bag: Blu Salt

Shah describes her company, Blu Salt, as the “ Muji of women’s accessories.”
With a background in business (she has
MBAs from the Indian School of
Business and Yale and has worked in corporate finance, digital marketing and
management consulting), she gained a sense of what types of bags were actually
useful for professional women, rather for travel or everyday use.   When she
founded Blu Salt, she set out to create a line of bags that allowed customers to
choose from a “range of carry options that they could customize for their
particular needs.”
Jyo Weekender,$610.00, available Oct. 1st
 Blu Salt bags are elegant, yet simple, embracing the emerging
trend of the “anti-it” bag. They are made of earth friendly fabrics, in
accordance with Shah’s principles of “Mindful Consumption.”  She discusses how
Blu Salt has evolved into a manifestation of her personal and professional
 Can you talk about how the idea
for Blu Salt came about?
traveled extensively for business and working in roles
that required a
rather buttoned-down dress code, I personally had a clear need for luxury bags
that were actually functional. When I started to work full-time on designing
these bags, I began to see what an impact business can have if it chooses to
hold social responsibility as a core tenet. Hence, what you see of Blu Salt
today is the culmination of 2 years of work in researching, creating and testing
all aspects of our bags and business, from materials to packaging, to create a
luxury bag that is as utilitarian and socially responsible as we could make
Jyo Weekender, $610.00
Blu Salt has a unique business
philosophy.  Please explain the essence of that philosophy and how it relates to
your design strategy
Blu Salt was named for the indigo (Blu) that was one of the
major exports of the British Raj and the salt tax (Salt) that Mahatma Gandhi
used to galvanize the Indian Independence movement. He pioneered the philosophy
of peaceful resistance, and today, I’d like to think that Blu Salt philosophy of
“Thoughtful Luxury” will stand in peaceful resistance to the current models of
Social responsibility is central to our business. We call it
“Mindful Production, Mindful Consumption” and simply speaking, it translates to
us having responsibility to protecting and nurturing 3 constituents: our
customers, our collaborators, and our community.
Our customers: We have a responsibility to them to design the
highest quality bags we can for the prices we ask them to pay. From materials to
design, we try to make the bags so functional, versatile and durable, that they
reduce our customers’ need for any other bag. We believe in supporting our
customers to “Buy Less, Demand More” – to consume fewer, but higher quality
products that reduce our overall consumption as a society.
Our collaborators: Our collaborators are our suppliers,
contractors and eventually, our employees. We have a responsibility towards them
to provide a safe and fair working environment and to pay fair wages that allow
them to live and work with dignity. We do this by ensuring no child labor is
used, that there are fair working conditions and wages among our suppliers. In
the end, we spend the majority of our adult life working and I’d like to think
that Blu Salt isn’t a cause for misery to the people who make it possible.
Our communities: We have a responsibility to bear the true cost
of our businesses. Social costs have to be accounted for. We use sustainable and
cruelty-free materials to the extent we can. Similarly, our packaging is
reusable too, to reduce discarded waste. Finally, we have a responsibility to
the most destitute amongst us – to help them gain dignity and employment, and so
we support Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD) with a % of each
Ann Work Tote, $485.00, available Oct. 1st
What are the core pieces in your
collection and what new bags will be added for fall?
We started the collection with a Clutch and Wallet design last
year, and this October, we will be introducing larger bags – the Raju Laptop
Sleeve, the Ann Work Tote and the Jyo Weekender. There are no core pieces as
such because each design is pushed to be as complete as possible. I was highly
influenced by Dieter Rams’ “Ten Principles of Good Design” and hope our
collection is a worthy reflection of those principles.
We are
currently redesigning our we
bsite to showcase the new bags launching in
October, so sign up for our e-mails to be kept abreast of developments on that
 You have travel tips on your
website for women who are traveling for business.  What tips do you have for
women who are packing for a vacation?
I don’t
know about you, but I feel like most travel magazine tips on vacations are for
women much more put together than I am! So here is my Top 5 list of tips from
the tried and true vacation traveler:
1) Think
through your vacation
travel: Plan on where you’re going to be and what
you are going to do. Usually, I find that it saves me for omitting glaringly
obvious necessities (e.g., shorts when I am going to the beach)
2) When planning what to take, don’t stray too far from how
you’d normally dress on the weekend: There are fabulous pictures of models on
“vacation” in most travel magazines, but really, you want to be comfortable
wherever you are – spend time checking out sights, not pulling at that bandeau
top that looked divine online.
3) When traveling abroad, skew conservative in dress: Let’s face
it, anyone who travels abroad sticks out like a sore thumb. Since most places in
the world tend to dress more conservatively than the US, dressing more
conservatively than usual when traveling abroad is a way of showing respect and
blending in.
4) Pack ½ of what you originally plan: Nothing is more annoying
than lugging heavy luggage ½ way across the world and then realizing you’re not
using most of it. Lean towards carrying less than more – you will be surprised
how often you will be able to find most of what you need wherever you’re going
(e.g., no need to pack the extra toilet roll)
5) Don’t take things that are too high maintenance: You are
going on a vacation. Take things that are easy to use and care for. That
dry-clean only, extra delicate, worth most of my paycheck, chiffon silk dress
might look great for a night on the town, but really, is that the dress you want
ruined with duck sauce in Shanghai?
– Rhonda
 For more Better Bets visit:

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr:

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.