ARTICLE Nicole James PHOTOGRAPHY Scott Espie
Roanne Jacobson, owner and creator of Saben, brings the beautiful and bold together to produce stunning collections of luxurious handbags, accessories, jewellery and luggage. So where does all the action and excitement take place? We get an opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at the workspace where Roanne pulls together her amazing creations.
How did you first get into fashion design for accessories?
It was while living in New York, with no money and trying to break into the art world that led to the creation of Saben.
I was being swept away by the fashion world and I trawled thrift shops trying to find something that I'd love, but would always end back in Soho with these phenomenal designers, and wanting their product.
So I decided surely I could make something.
Where did your inspiration for your pieces get drawn from?
I am inspired by surface play, colour, texture and I find myself getting obsessed with design aspects that spark my creativity; everything is deliberate and designed with intent.
Ingenuity of function and a clever approach is key in designing luxury leather handbags.
Has your style evolved since then and if so, how would you describe it?
My first attempt was ridiculous. It took me weeks and when i showed my friend she took one look at it and said, yeah right, why don't you borrow something of mine!!
So yes, my style has evolved into the idea of "playful in concept, serious in execution" where every detail is designed with deliberate intent.
What are the most important features in your workspace whilst in your element for designing your pieces?
The most important workspace elements when designing pieces is having my floor cleared so I can really get 'grounded' and put together my mood boards.
Also, a clear desk so I can move around easily is always crucial.
Have you always been in Ponsonby?
No, we moved to Ponsonby in 2011 - Saben began at a warehouse/office location 52A Parau Street, Corner Fearon Ave, Mt Roskill.
Would you say your style is implemented in the space that you work in?
My style is definitely reflected in my workspace, from my vintage beloved office chair to my colourful stationery plus all my designed handbags that I'm literally surrounded by.
What are your most favourite aspects of your showroom and workspace?
My favourite aspects include our LUCKY LUCKY THING light which is one of our signature mottos in neon pink, the hanging handbag wall, my vintage textured chairs that provide character in the office and the Nespresso machine that keeps me caffeinated. Which is your favourite item that you have created?
My favourite item is my Tilly; she is our humble overachiever! A neat, organised and multifunctional purse/wallet/take-over-the-world clutch. She boasts a zip opening, five compartments and inner zips pocket to keep your prettiest pennies (and whatever else you fancy) locked and lovely.
How long does it usually take to draw up a design and make a sample?
It can take up weeks/months - beginning the initial idea, condensing it, then trial and error to perfect the details so it's a functional working handbag. Samples can take up to two/three weeks to create.
is it beneficial having your workplace so close to your home?
It is incredibly convenient having the workplace downstairs; I can juggle being a Mum and running a business all under one roof! Thank goodness.
Is there a specific organisational layout in your workplace that is critical for things to run smoothly?
As we have such an intimate area for clients to view collections - the desks are easy to break down to allow for more space for clients and the team just work a bit closer together; it's sweet and cosy.
In my executive suite, my main layout is to keep everything at bay; especially when designing. I'm constantly whipping out archives from our boxes to inspire new ideas and usually sit on the floor hen building/designing a new collection. So I need floor space and a clean environment for things to run smoothly.
Would you change anything about it?
No, living with my family that are all male and boisterous; having my intimate space downstairs gives me a place to escape too. It's small and intimate enough that it's cost and feels like a home away from home.
To see Saben's collection, visit the Saben website.
All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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