We could resist cute little Yumi and her cute little bags. We receive many story suggestions for bag designers and for some reason Yumi’s bags just stood out..plus she is the typical girl from Asia trying to live the American dream. Read on for more about Yumi and her handbags.
ASIANCE: Where are you from in Japan?
Yumi: I am originally from Yokohama, Japan. My hometown is famous for its waterfront, the port and the bayside area. It has the biggest Chinatown in Japan so there are many foreigners from all over the world who live & visit Yokohama.
One of the nice things I enjoy is that we get to experience many different cultures in my hometown.
ASIANCE: When did you come to the United States?
Yumi: I came to America in 2000 to attend school for Graphic Design in Pittsburgh, PA. I became interested in making handbags at the same time I graduated which was in 2003. Making bags was one of my hobbies, however many people started to ask me where the bags came from. So I started to sell them at wholesale and started my custom design handbag business.
In June 2005, I decided to live in New York City to expand my business & bag line…and here I am!!
ASIANCE: Why did you decide New York City was the place?
Yumi: I came to New York to experience the power of the City & to fulfill my dreams of promoting and introducing my handbags to as many people as I can internationally.
ASIANCE: Was it always your wish to come & live in America?
Yumi: Yes. But I never expected to be living & working in NYC as I am today.
ASIANCE: When did you first start designing & making handbags?
Yumi:The first handbag I made was a very long time ago. I think I was 10 years old, maybe even a little younger. It was a project for my sewing class in elementary school so I created a small everyday tote bag.
ASIANCE: Do you still have that bag?
Yumi: I do, I still have the bag in my treasure box at my parents home in Japan.
ASIANCE: Are most of your handbags made of leather?
Yumi: I recently started to work with leather a lot, but I still make some fabric bags using denim, canvas, cotton, satin, and other materials. I’m open to create handbags with as many different types of materials as I can find! I ‘m also interested in using retro antique fabrics and organic materials.
ASIANCE: What is it about leather that you love so much?
Yumi: I love leather because it has such wonderful qualities to work with: the texture, the weight and the smell, all comfort & excite me. Another very important thing for me that I always keep in mind is that I have a responsibility to value and respect animal skin.
ASIANCE: Do you follow the fashion trends for accessories?
Yumi: Not really. I look at the trends, but I don’t follow them exactly. I always find my own style in my own way!
ASIANCE: Are there any other designers that inspire you?
Yumi: There are so many talented & inspiring designers in the world. However…I think my grandfather who used to make custom tuxedos inspired me the most. He and I are in different fashion categories, but I think his special work is the most respectable.
ASIANCE: How important is color, shape, size, fabric for you?
Yumi: I think the most important thing in designing a handbag is to stay true to myself & my own inspiration. Most of the time I’m just following my natural instincts and expressing them with the colors, shapes, sizes, and fabrics I choose.
ASIANCE: Could I say that you create art with a function?
Yumi:Yes. When I’m designing something as important as a ladies handbag I always think of safety, function and style.
ASIANCE: How would you best describe your handbag designs?
Yumi: Very unique and functional. I love to create pieces that feel fresh and a little different. I believe handbags add a personality to our style.
I hope that each of my customers and friends can share the same feelings of finding something new and special in the designs of my handbags.
ASIANCE: Can you tell something about a person’s personality by the handbag they use?
Yumi: Uhhhh…sometimes yes… It’s actually a lot of fun to guess! I do enjoy thinking about the kinds of bags people buy & why they want to carry them, and then try to analyze what kind of people they are. You should try it sometime.
ASIANCE: How important is a woman’s handbag?
Yumi: I think of it as an extension of a woman’s body and we like to carry the best matching bag for the occasion.
ASIANCE: Should a woman’s shoes & belts match her handbag?
Yumi: Not necessarily. Sometimes mixing & matching adds a unique style…
ASIANCE: Do you have any plans to make any other accessories?
Yumi: Yes. I’m already making belts and will soon be making comfortable shoes.
My dream & goal is to expand my handbag line and have my very own production factory.
I ‘m excited to produce large quantities of my handbags, but also keep creating my private limited-editions by my hands.
ASIANCE: Where can our readers see & buy your handbags?
Yumi:Oh please come visit me in New York at our designer store EDGE
There are several young designers here
at 65 Bleecker Street
(bet. Broadway & Lafayette St )
New York City
and please visit my website
ASIANCE: Do you have any suggestions for ladies when they are buying a handbag, wallet, belt or shoes?
Yumi: Yes. Always find something you really like that fits your personality that suits your function & style. Invest into getting something that is precious and special for you.
Photography and interview by Steven Speliotis www.speliotis.com