Known worldwide as one of the meccas of competitive sailing and yachting, Brittany, France is also home to a host of up-and-coming technology and fashion companies that put oceans and eco-responsibility at the core of their business models.
We sat down with Nicolas Veto, President of 727 Sailbags to learn more about how they were navigating the stormy seas of the global pandemic and about their recent North America expansion.
Tell us about 727 Sailbags and its connection to sailing ?
At 727 sailbags, we collect sails that have travelled the oceans and we upcycle them into fashionable bags and clothing or unique home decor accessories. A label stitched on the product tells the story of the sail, its travels, the races it participated in, the kind of boat it came from. Every product is a connection to a journey, an adventure.
How has your company had to adjust during the global pandemic ?
We were hit hard since our stores and dealers had to shut down for months, and almost all major sailing events we partner with were cancelled, except for the Solitaire du Figaro and the Vendée Globe. However, we decided to take risks, and while other companies were freezing their expansion, we decided to open 3 stores in the midst of the crisis: in Deauville, in Cannes and in the USA in Annapolis, Maryland. Isn't that what the best Ocean Racing skippers teach us ? You don't always have a way around the storm, you sometimes have to face it and jump in. That's what we did.
Why did you decide to open a new store in the USA right in the middle of a lockdown ?
By upcycling sails we are committed to reducing waste and preserving our planet. This purpose can be shared by people all around the world. Our connection to sailing made us turn to the country that witnessed the birth of the America's Cup, and is home to 4 million practicing sailors, with a beautiful coastline extending over 12 000 miles. What an amazing backyard ! We had set our sights on Annapolis, MD, on the Chesapeake Bay, an iconic setting for the American Sailing Community and we found a beautiful Flagship location by the waterfront. We had the place we wanted ! We couldn't let the lockdown rob us of this great base for growth in the USA.
What should we be on the lookout for from 727 Sailbags in the coming months:
After the success of our bags made with the sails of Eric Tabarly, we are launching a Men's brand ERIC TABARLY as a tribute to the legendary Breton sailor. With the help of his wife and daughter, Jacqueline and Marie, we designed a collection of ready-to-wear inspired by the life and passion of this unstoppable seaman who is an example to all generations of sailors. The sweaters, made in 100% merinos wool, are made in Morbihan and our bags and accessories are handmade in our workshop in Lorient, in the French Sailing Valley.
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is an organization established to create, facilitate, promote, and sponsor wide-ranging innovative and collaborative cultural and economic projects that strengthen and foster relations and cooperation between the United States of America and the region of Brittany, France.