Sherpani derives from the Nepalese word for a female Sherpa - adventurers that live on the high slopes of the Himalayas and lead mountain expeditions as guides. It is with this sense of empowerment and adventure that the brand Sherpani was born in 2002. At the time, no market existed for women’s outdoor handbags. It was that pivotal moment that founders (couple) Ed and Maria Ruzic knew they would have to pave their own path. The spirit of boldness and passion that inspired the creation of Sherpani continues to guide the success of the company.
“We have really pioneered the outdoor women handbag space,” said Marisa Patterson, Store Manager. “What sets us apart today is our commitment to sustainable design and responsible manufacturing. When it comes to production, Sherpani is an industry leader in the use of recycled fabrics, non-toxic dyes, fair labor agreements and chemical restrictions. In addition, we started the non-profit organization Blue Verve Project. We believe healthy oceans are vital to our planet and human health. Blue Verve Project is dedicated to keeping our oceans free from plastic by repurposing material into fabrics and donating proceeds to marine clean-up projects. We’ve already helped divert over 3.2 million water bottles from polluting oceans.”
Sherpani designs and sells functional backpacks, day bags, purses, sling bags and travel gear. “Our products are built for style and functionality - perfect for days on a trail, business trips or a night out with friends. We have recently partnered with two affiliate brands - OllyDog (pet accessories) and Ascentials Pro (another brand of unisex bags). While our primary mission has always been to empower women, we also offer bags that can be enjoyed regardless of gender identity.”
You can find Sherpani online and in larger chain stores like REI, however, the only brick and mortar Sherpani location can be found on the East End of Pearl Street. “Our storefront is unique because half of it is retail space, and the other half contains our corporate headquarters and office space. As we work, we get to directly apply customer feedback as we overhear conversations about design and style and overall functionality. While we sell internationally, we are a really small company of a very dedicated team.”
Boulder was chosen as the company headquarters because of its culture and commitment to sustainability. “This community has a great response to our responsible manufacturing mindset. It’s such a special place to have a business. You are able to interact and form relationships with locals while meeting travelers and tourists from all over the world. There is such a fun energy downtown.”
A recent transplant, Marisa has already found a great community within Boulder. “Being new to the Boulder area, both the community and the Sherpani team have quickly proven themselves to align with my own values and lifestyle. It has been a privilege to see the kindness, resilience and strength that this city holds. Whether it's chatting with our carriers, locals, tourists, neighbors on Pearl or our team at Sherpani…there is an immense amount of support and energy to ride off of. There is nothing that compares to Downtown Boulder and its people.”
To support Sherpani’s sustainability efforts, stop by the store and see the bags for yourself. “You can also order bags online and follow us on social media (@sherpani) for insider information. Positive feedback, in person or online, is greatly appreciated. And we often host events inside the store with giveaways, so keep your eyes peeled for the next opportunity to connect as a community!”
If you are someone who says yes to adventure, you embody the spirit of Sherpani. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast, business professional or a collector of all things fashionable, a bag exists for you. Stop in the store and see how stylish sustainability really is!
You are able to interact and form relationships with locals while meeting travelers and tourists from all over the world. There is such a fun energy downtown.