Screen printed totes and accessories

Soon to be mum to identical twin girls, Sara Hayat, is the creative mind behind the playful, considered and unique tote bags of Totes Good.

In her Thornbury studio, Sara designs and sews small batch pieces whilst listening to Khruangbin and “eating my weight in Savoy biscuits and tasty cheese (but that may be because I’m pregnant)”.


Sara explores designs and illustrations that reflect nature, human emotions and her personal experiences. The limited collections of only 10 designs at a time, are created from remnant fabrics personally selected by Sara, which would otherwise be discarded and put in landfill.

“One of the best parts of making (the products) is finding great fabric, and knowing that it’s unique because that’s the last of it.”

This concept allows her to work with integrity and make her customers “feel good” about buying a Totes Good product. Knowing that it’s a limited edition, made in Melbourne makes it something special and somewhat exclusive.”

'It’s easy creating pieces of work, but communicating what you’re doing and why, is much harder.'

In a situation like this when she is struggling with self-doubt, Sara believes that “it’s important to change my environment, situation or task. That might be going for a walk, seeing friends or giving myself a break from work.” Self- care for Sara involves exercise like swimming, yoga, pilates and “being good to myself by acknowledging that I can’t always be at my peak.”

It’s refreshing to hear that Sara accepts the ebbs and flows as part of her creative practice instead of resisting the need to rest. A task all entrepreneurial creatives should practice for the benefit of their business running smoothly and general wellbeing. Incidentally, Sara will be taking a small break from markets whilst she embarks on the journey of motherhood but will continue to creative new pieces for her online store.

The idea for Totes Good came to Sara whilst she was working in a more commercial role and was looking for a creative outlet. “It gave me the opportunity to draw and experiment without working to client expectations.”

As creatives, we know our own ideas can provide a sense of freedom and design identity that can be difficult to establish in a commercial environment. Although, in Sara’s experience, her most recent role as a Graphic Designer at JAC& (and first permanent employee may I add) has helped grow her business and utilise her varying skills.

“I love being a graphic designer and the process of collaboration, but I also think it’s important to explore your own creative potential.”

Jacinta Lippold – Owner of JAC& is a great source of encouragement and offers advice to “strengthen and shape Totes Good.”

Although Sara is surrounded by such a great community of artists and is passionate about her work, she admits that it is challenging to work on the business (marketing and planning) than in it all the time.

“It’s easy creating pieces of work, but communicating what you’re doing and why, is much harder. Managing yourself and being able to sell products is by far the most challenging part of Totes Good.”

Real talk.

Written By Olivia

Published July 18 2019



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