What's the Big Idea?

Mr. Money Bags

Football has been very, very good to him.

Mark Talucci, 33, will never forget the Super Bowl party he attended in January 1989. Everyone at the party admired his friend's handbag, made of a woven, flexible, leather-like material, which she had purchased in Indonesia. Surprised by the reaction to the bag, Talucci lost interest in the 49ers-Broncos game and casually polled the 50-odd people attending the party to find out why they liked the bag so much.

Fascinated by his friends' responses, he decided to launch the handbag company which was to become San Francisco-based The Sak with his friend Todd Elliott. Talucci quit his engineering job so he and his partner could set up shop in their garage. They pooled their savings of $18,000 and trekked to Bali to manufacture handbags.

It was a rash decision, considering neither Talucci nor Elliott knew anything about starting a company--or anything about handbags, for that matter. But they were sure they had a terrific product. The result is a company that posted sales of close to $40 million last year. Talucci's bags are sold in most upscale department stores and many specialty clothing stores.

Looking back, Talucci has no regrets. He admits to making an impulsive decision but figured he didn't have much to lose. "All I had to lose was a little time and $9,000," he laughs. "I figured it was a gamble worth taking." Seems he was right.

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This article was originally published in the February 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: What's the Big Idea?.

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