Imagine a brand that makes the most beautiful eco-leather bags in the world. Bags that are produced fair. Bags that give you an instant happy feeling. Allow me to introduce you to the bags of O My Bag. One of my favorite bag brands!
The story of Manouk and O My Bag: We go way back.
In October 2012 I received this email…
And soon afterwards I received my first O My Bag: the Posh Stacey :) These day I still carry the Posh Stacey with me to work (every day!) and bring it on day-and weekend trips. Over the years the bag has become more beautiful as is common with good leather. A bit more than a year later I gave my birthday party… Here I was surprised with yet another O My Bag: this time the Betsy in Brown! Thanks girls! A leather handbag that I carried with me to Thailand and Sicily!
And now, about another year later I received my third and fourth O My Bags. This time the Betsy in Black. The Betsy is a bag you can pretty much wear on all occasions. It has the perfect size and there is even room for my small polaroid camera. Of course I took the bag with me on my latest trip to Paris. I also received the ‘Not Your Ordinary Bag’-tote bag. I LOVE tote-bags! I always carry a tote-bag with me on my backpacking trips. Tote-bags can carry a small vest, your DSLR bag, a guidebook and they don’t take much space in your backpack.
I think it’s clear that I’ve fallen in love with the bags of O My Bag!
So, that was the story of me and O My Bag…
What is the story of O My Bag?
I had the opportunity to interview Paulien Wesselink (the founder of O My Bag) about O My Bag and her travels to India.
Q1. Could you start by telling us in a nutshell what O My Bag is all about?
A1. We sell leather bags, which have been produced in a fair and eco-friendly way. I wanted to set up a social enterprise that would not only make a profit but also give back by undertaking business in a fair and sustainable manner. Every bag means fair work and thus a better life for somebody who really needs it.
Q2. Which bag(s) do you take with you when you travel?
A2. I’m actually sitting at the airport right now for our connecting flight to Kolkata from Dubai. I love the new collection’s Blue Ivy, we developed it specifically for traveling, because its the perfect hand luggage. It fits everything you need on a plane including your laptop/Ipad, books, magazines, small in- flight necessities like hand cream, chapstick and a refreshner, but also a scarf to keep you warm. Next to that I’m currently travelling with a small leather handluggage suitcase. It’s not from O My Bag, but high on my wish list of things to design. It’s a bit tricky, because it will be an expensive piece. But on the other hand, a leather handluggage suitcase, should last you a life time!
Q3. Being an experienced Kolkata visitor. Do you have any Kolkata travel tips for the readers of BoB?
A3. O, yes I have a few tips up my sleeve. This is my 7th time in Kolkata and I have grown to love the vibrant and lively atmosphere. When traveling I’m most interested in the vibe of the city, so I’m big on walking around and exploring, that’s what I would recommend for Kolkata as well. The city has a green and yellow color palette. The palette is composed of the greenery of the trees and the contrasting yellow of all Kolkata’s yellow cabs (distinctly from Kolkata).
The city center is divided in different area’s that specializes in certain products. When I come to look for fitting and accessories for our bags for example, there are a few streets with hardware stores only for bags. Every niche has there own small area. Also, the street food markets make very interesting sights. At the meat market for example the chickens are alive before you buy them and at the fish markets the fish is cleaned right before your eyes. Needless to say these are not the cleanest places in Kolkata!
Beautiful land marks are the Victorian Memorial and the huge green park called the ‘lungs’ of Kolkata in the heart of the city. In the weekends the parks are full of families and people playing cricket. The colonial hotel The Grand Oberoi is also an indulgence to visit, it has a gorgeous and quiet courtyard with a pool and huge palm trees. A lovely place to unwind in the hectic of the city center.
Q4. I love India. It’s so colorful. Did you ever consider incorporating ‘Indian’ details in your bag?
A4. Yes, initially we’ve played around with the idea of using recycled sari’s as linings for our bags. I’d love the idea of recycling fabric and the sari’s are so wonderfully colorful. In the end the plan didn’t work out, because it was too tricky picking out the nice looking old sari’s from the not so nice ones. The production team picked out sari’s that looked more like cheap Hawaiian shirts instead of the beautiful sari’s that I see in the streets. Unfortunately we are too far away in the Netherlands to control this detail in the production.
In the end I was happy with the decision because O My Bag’s look is classic, simple and timeless, the colorfulness of the saris’ may have been a little too intense for this look. We did play around with very colorful linings last season. Most bags had bright mint lining, also inspired by Indian colors. For the new collection we’re going with a more universal blue stripe, which is more considerate to our male customer.
Thank you Paulien for this interview and your beautiful brand!
Find O My Bag here!
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This article was written in collaboration with O My Bag. Views and opinions expressed in this article are my own.