I am thrilled to present you with my first Holiday Highlight entrepreneur, Kasia of Kasia Dietz bags. As I mentioned when I introduced the idea of supporting small business owners for Small Business Saturday, I am re-focusing my usual holiday giveaways activities and shifting attention to supporting some of my favorite small business owners who all happen to be friends, family, or faithful blog readers.
I can't think of anyone better to start with than Kasia, who exactly one year ago today launched her business in Paris! Happy Anniversary Kasia!
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Kasia and I have been blogging friends for quite a while and I was so lucky to meet her in Paris in October of 2010. She has been regularly featured in many Saturday Sixes as well as guest posts here and there. I gave away one of her bags last year during the holidays and knew I wanted to repeat the same and continue to support her business.
Oddly enough I had never interviewed Kasia about her business and I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight Kasia, her business, and her products. She graciously agreed to answer some of my questions:
[MWA]: I know this is your second time around for your bag business, what inspired you the first time around, and how about the second?
[Kasia]: I started designing bags, (beginning with hand-painted collections inspired by my mom's 1970's designs) several years ago while working in advertising, to fulfill myself creatively. It was a side project that kept me inspired and in very little time the bags were selling in NY and LA boutiques as well as in Tokyo, where they were in high demand. (I was even interviewed by the Japanese press!)
All of this, of course, inspired me to continue pursuing my designing but my career became more demanding and I had to put my designing dreams on hold. Until Paris. I was immensely inspired by this fashion capital and finally had the time to devote to my business.
I set to work and through getting to know the city and its people while learning the language and culture, I designed new collections, including the hand-printed Paris Collection. Et voila! I re-launched my business.
[MWA]: Your collections have two personalities, one that celebrates Paris and one that focuses on nature – what is your thought process there?
[Kasia]: I've always been drawn to minimalism in art and design, and where better to discover this than in nature. Some of the most simple and beautiful design comes from nature's elements, thus my desire was to create bags that represent this purity of beauty.
My Paris collection too is minimalist in design yet appeals to those who love Paris. These bags can equally speak to an individual's personality, stating where they live or which part of Paris they prefer. In addition, the reversibility element creates a playfulness mixed with sophistication.
[MWA]: Paris is no doubt one of THE fashion capitals of the world, did you feel any pressure bringing your business there?
[Kasia]: Staying in line with my design aesthetic and knowing that Parisiens are trendy yet timeless, I knew to keep my bags simple, unique, and elegant.
As for finding success in this fashion capital, it certainly takes time to establish yourself in a city like Paris, but little by little I'm making my way, as I navigate locally with a global view. And always, I try to stay positive.
[MWA]: What do you love most about the creative process?
[Kasia]: When designing new collections, I have an emotional reaction to certain colors and fabrics. I allow this instinctual feeling to dictate. As for my hand-painted bags, it's quite a lengthy process with lots of ideas circling a specific theme.
What I love most is creating the final designs, with ink on canvas, and watching my ideas come to life. Without a doubt a creative high!
[MWA]: How are your bags distributed?
[Kasia}: In addition to selling my handbags via my online shop, they are sold in several multi-brand online shops featuring independent designers, including Swelle Boutique and Not On The High Street in the UK and Parisien Salon and Laure Nell in the US.
I am also selling locally in select Paris boutiques and most recently at my favorite (and most exclusive) Paris department store Le Bon Marché which is a great honor!
Wow! That is fabulous news, congrats Kasia!
Blogging bud, Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland also did a lovely little write-up on Kasia in her Franco File Friday as well as a Bitch Buzz post, check it out to learn more about this fashion maven! You can also learn more about Kasia from her own blog, Love in the City of Lights.