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Date Established 04/2010
Founder Brooke Mullen
Headquarters Lincoln
Press Contact Cassie Uecker


Sapahn is an ethical fashion brand that believes in the beauty of craft, the power of people and the importance of human rights. Our bags are sourced, designed, and created by a community of artisans from around the world, who have a voice in everything we do and agency to act on their own behalf. We believe in creating beautiful things, and highlighting the beauty within people.

Founding Story

The Window Brooke Mullen looked out of as a kid showed her only a sliver of the world. She wanted to see the rest. 

She graduated high school early after receiving a Rotary Club scholarship to study abroad in Romania for a year. College courses and programs took her to China, Japan, Korea and Spain. “The more I traveled, the more I tested my own understandings, beliefs, and knowledge, and the more addicting it became. Traveling was a constant source of growth for me, but to make good on this privilege, I had to do something impactful with what I learned and experienced.” 

Traveling helped Brooke see the world. However, the communities and connections she encountered helped her see herself. 

In 2008, Brooke moved to Thailand to pursue her Masters in Human Rights, and not long after started working with the United Nations on a regional human trafficking project. During that experience, she came to understand that a lack of local job opportunities pushed people into high-risk migration, resulting in increased vulnerabilities and incidences of trafficking. Women-led co-ops and small businesses in rural villages struggled to make their trade sustainable. The more she traveled through Thailand, the more artisans she met. And the more she learned that they all wanted the same things she wanted: The opportunity to thrive, to build a life, and to care for a family. That was the gap. That was her call to action.

On a research trip in Myanmar, Brooke reached a turning point when she met Marie Tu. They were the same age. Both were curious, driven, and ambitious, and most of all were determined to empower other women. But like many of the artisans Brooke had met, Marie suffered from a lack of agency, fair treatment, job opportunities, access to capital. “I knew if I could somehow help her, she was going to help millions of people. She is the force multiplier,” thought Brooke. 

Brooke asked Marie Tu what would change her circumstances, Marie Tu said simply: “Education.” And that answer and the subsequent solution of funding a scholarship for her opened The Door

Brooke began buying as many artisan products as she could pack into her suitcases and took them home to the U.S. She held a trunk show and everything sold out. Soon Brooke went from a buyer to a designer, working with the connections she had made to create a network of artisans. A business was born. It put people first. Paid them fairly. Treated them honorably. 

It was Brooke Mullen’s desire to see the world that took her to Thailand. But it was the connections she made there that showed her something deeper. She found a way to utilize fashion to promote human rights, mobilize people, and do something beautiful, supported by deeply loyal customers who share similar values and passions. 

While our artisans and customers may be separated by thousands of miles, they share a desire for opportunity. For agency. For freedom. For fairness. For love. 

So to connect them, Brooke Mullen created Sapahn. 

It’s a Thai word. 

It means The Bridge

Woven and stitched into everything we make is the shared responsibility to recognize the humanity in each other. 

Since 2010, we have defied the status quo in the fashion industry by proving that the beautiful things we buy can honor the beauty of the people who made them.  

You’ll like how it looks. But you’ll love how it feels. This is Sapahn. The Beauty You Hold.


Staney Crossbody
Staney Crossbody $225.00
Ada Crossbody
Ada Crossbody $265.00
Chloe Convertible Backpack and Crossbody Bag
Chloe Convertible Backpack and Crossbody Bag $465.00
AE Crossbody Wristlet Wallet
AE Crossbody Wristlet Wallet $345.00
Ciara Crossbody and Wallet
Ciara Crossbody and Wallet $195.00
Sarah Ann Crossbody Belt Bag
Sarah Ann Crossbody Belt Bag $295.00
Pepper Convertible Backpack and Crossbody Bag
Pepper Convertible Backpack and Crossbody Bag $325.00
Grace Mini Crossbody
Grace Mini Crossbody $175.00
Parker Deluxe Wristlet
Parker Deluxe Wristlet $175.00
M Crossbody
M Crossbody $295.00
Natasha Convertible Backpack
Natasha Convertible Backpack $575.00
Poole Belt Bag
Poole Belt Bag $225.00
Linda Jean Handbag
Linda Jean Handbag $435.00
Evelyn Wristlet Wallet
Evelyn Wristlet Wallet $95.00

Team Bios

Brooke Mullen, founder and designer of Sapahn, is a passionate traveler, entrepreneur, champion of women empowerment, craft beer enthusiast, proud wife, and mom to a 4-year-old boy (with another baby on the way). Brooke recently returned to her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, after living in Thailand for a decade. While in Thailand, she worked at the United Nations on Human Trafficking, completed an MA in Human Rights, and started a fashion brand — Sapahn.

Sapahn, meaning bridge in Thai, designs and produces high-quality leather goods and fashion accessories for consumers with similar values. Brooke built a unique sourcing and manufacturing advantage by mobilizing rural Thai communities through fair, ethical and purposeful work.





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