Sandpoint High School graduate launches youth clothing apparel business to empower students By Christian Weaner
One evening last year, Sage Saccomanno and her friends were sitting in their dorm room playing a game together when someone quipped, "Bigger brain energy—can't even hold up my own head."
This playful banter simultaneously left Sage in stitches and started the gears turning in her head.
"I was thinking, 'Bigger Brain Energy, that would be kind of cool on a shirt,'" Sage remembered. "And I presented it to all my friends right then and there—as a joke—and said I was going to do this."
One of her friends looked at her, in all seriousness, and said, "Why don't you? If anybody is going to do it, it's going to be you. So, why not?"
It all came together perfectly, Sage recalled. The name "Bigger Brain" seemed to perfectly align with the idea of encouraging students in their pursuit of higher education.
A little more than a year later, Sage, a 2020 Sandpoint High School graduate, current bio-chemistry major at Bard University in Annandale-On-Hudson, New York, and self-proclaimed sneaker head, recently completed the successful launch of Bigger Brain, LLC's inaugural clothing collection called Smart in Style, which focuses on empowering young individuals that being smart is cool and stylish.
According to Sage, the idea behind Bigger Brain's mission stems back to her childhood. Despite being top of her class, Sage said she often felt that she needed to mask her intelligence to try and fit in.
But her perspective changed when she got to Bard and became plugged in with the encouraging academic community there.
"Once I got to college and was put into the environment where I could genuinely learn and dedicate a lot of time to learning, I fell in love with education even more and realized how much I like learning and how much I like being in school," Sage described. This realization made Sage recognize the inaccuracy of her former insecurities, and she wished she could have gone back and told her younger self that being smart and being cool were not incongruous.
"[Learning] that [lesson] has ultimately brought to me this desire to reach out to young individuals and to help empower them to be confident in their intelligence and actually feel as though they have a shot," Sage said.
"That is where the idea for Bigger Brain came from," Sage added. "I wanted to create a brand that not only educated but provided style and also was a safe space and a community for young individuals and college students … to feel supported and have somewhere to go."
Amid changing majors and taking a full load of classes, in February 2022, Sage began using any free time she had to start putting her idea for Bigger Brain into motion. She enrolled in a couple of online business classes and applied for an LLC.
While the process started slow, Sage battled through her discouragement and took some big steps forward over this past summer, the biggest of which came when Bigger Brain was officially legalized as an LLC in the state of Idaho.
"That was a big step," Sage said of receiving the LLC. "I never thought that I would be able to say that I was the CEO of a company. That was the large turning moment because it made it real that I was actually doing this."
Sage's desire was for Bigger Brain to be a brand designed for college students, made by college students, so she began reaching out to many of her connections at Bard to help contribute to the Smart in Style collection.
One individual who Sage said has been invaluable to her is LuLu Kirmani, a sophomore studio art major at Bard and the artist that Sage contracted to help with Bigger Brain's shirt designs.
"For me to be able to spitball words and give [LuLu] ideas that were coming into my brain and for her to come back two days later with this actual product … was one of the coolest parts of the process," Sage explained. "Because … I was actually getting to see the vision come to life."
The Smart in Style collection officially launched on November 11, 2022, with a Kickstarter campaign designed to raise the necessary funds to get Bigger Brain off the ground.
In early December, still working hard to reach her $28,000 goal, Sage pondered all that she has learned on the journey of starting her own clothing brand.
"I am always going to be in the midst of this story," Sage said. "I think [Bigger Brain] is definitely not something that is just going to be a little adventure for me. I think this is going to be a lifetime thing for me."
To learn more about Bigger Brain and Sage's story, visit BiggerBrain.com.