When I watch YouTube videos, I get nothing more out of it than blind entertainment of cute kittens and hilarious pranks. But when Shana of the Affashionado, watches YouTube, she gets inspired to create her own business. Talk about an overachiever. After struggling to find a job in fashion, Shana was inspired by a video on artisans in Haiti. From there Shana got the idea to create fashion that was more than just aesthetic, but had some social purpose to it as well.
Not to say that her bags lack aesthetic because above all they are incredibly chic. Inspired by the veins of leaves, the bags have an irresistible essence and a unique quality that’s hard to come by in this fast-fashion world. Thus her bag line, Affashionado was born with the intention of empowering women. Her mission is more than just providing cute leather bags to carry your everyday essentials in. The brand also employs women in third world countries. Each bag comes with a handmade dust bags sewn by women in Tanzania in an effort to create more sustainable employment opportunities. Shana is doing her part to empower women inside and out, whether it’s through her initiative with the women in Tanzania or ladies in Chicago looking for their next great handbag.
So let’s recap. Cute leather handbags with a social mission to empower women. Have you bought yours yet?
How did you get started creating and designing leather handbags?
I could not find a job in the fashion industry after graduating with a degree in Fashion Marketing & Management. Therefore, I decided to create my own opportunity and the idea grew to AFFASHIONADO.
Where did the name ‘Affashionado’ come from?
I wanted a name that embodied what I love working on best of all (fashion) and so I decided to incorporate fashion into the name of the business.
Your company is one grounded in social purpose. Why did you find it important to create a company that promotes empowering women?
I believe that if you have a platform you should use it to help others. Providing employment opportunities for others who don’t have the same as myself is really important to me.
What are the qualities that make a handbag great?
A great handbag should be equal parts stylish and functional.
Who would you love to see rocking one of your bags?
Blake Lively or Rihanna.
If you could only use one bag for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It would have to be my ZOE bag. The ZOE is a little edgy but functional. Also, It can hold my laptop and IPad.
Do you have plans to expand your business outside the realm of handbags?
Yes, I would like to extend the line to include jewelry and shoes.