Sumsaara

Jannat Saxena, left, and mom Mini Bansal recently launced Sumsaara.

Does a purse need to be used completely as a purse? As consumers, do we ever imagine a product that could go beyond its conventional use? I believe some of us do.

The belief of maximizing a product’s utility and its life cycle to the fullest extent has been the underpinning guidepost that drives the birth of Sumsaara’s products, a young startup company led by mother-and-daughter team Mini Bansal and Jannat Saxena. Bansal operated a floral business in Mountain View for more than 30 years, and Saxena is a San Jose State University graduate in design who received the Mayor’s Choice Award for her art at the 2018 Rotary Club of Los Altos’ Fine Art in the Park event.

Turning passion into a business

Based in Pleasanton, the three-year-old startup creates and designs everyday consumer products that are versatile, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally-responsible.

According to Saxena, the company’s vision from the beginning is to be creative and establish itself as an innovative brand. She and her mother created a rich product portfolio consisting of their Essence Collection, from an evening purse and card wallets to tray puzzles, do-it-yourself jewelry kits and reversible accessory belts. They take design thinking holistically – Saxena said every product they create undergoes a rigorous refinement process, from its initial form to its final best.

“Every single product is handcrafted, made in small batches,” Saxena said. “We select materials that are environmentally friendly, ranging from cork fabric and wood to the packaging of our products. Because of our products’ versatility and their multifaceted usage, each item is unique and can be adapted as a displayable work of art or be reused and made into a new creation by end users.”

The products’ reusability adds the carbon-footprint reduction dimension most of today’s consumers look for and appreciate in responsible companies.

Saxena and Bansal said Sumsaara’s products make their customers happy and bring a smile to their faces, making them great gifts for families and friends.

Expanding portfolio into multi-folds

The pandemic has helped Sumsaara evolve its product focus from creating items that are stylish and easy to carry, the co-founders said, to items that customers can enjoy making at home with their friends and families.

They next plan to introduce additional items to allow their customers to be the “creators” as well, by taking their base product framework and letting customers create things the way they want them. The concept is in lockstep with today’s emerging trend of the “creator economy,” where consumers who are users of the product can build and showcase products of their own.

Reflecting on their journey and what they’ve learned through the pandemic, Saxena and Bansal believe their success rests on the fact that they started small. By building clientele and satisfying early customers through solid products and efficient customer service, they were able to sustain with more new sales, repeat buys and referrals that will enable them to scale and go big when they are ready.

In the future, the duo hope to open a studio to help young adults with designing and manufacturing their own products, using the approaches they have gathered and curated in their business, and encouraging others to follow their dreams and make things happen.

Sumsaara will have a booth at the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival in September.

For more information on the company, visit sumsaara.com.

Jenny Huang is founder and CEO of Jenny Huang Marketing LLC, a Silicon Valley strategic marketing and business consulting firm. For more information, email jenny@jennyhuangmarketing.com.