The perfect graduation gift with Bristol alumni’s Amschela

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By May Garland, Style Deputy Editor

The Croft Magazine // Exclusive with the University of Bristol Law graduate who's making waves in the world of luxury handbags.

Graduation for the class of 2020 may not have been what everyone was expecting; however, graduates still deserve a celebration and what better way to mark the occasion than with an Amschela luxury handbag!

The Amschela brand was born in Bristol and can provide you with the perfect gift, whilst allowing you to support smaller businesses during this uncertain financial time. I interviewed University of Bristol’s alumna and founder of Amschela, Keri Andriana for an exclusive on how she created the brand and her personal favourites from her chic collections.

Keri Andriana, founder of Amschela

What made you decide to launch the company Amschela?
I had worked in the legal profession for 15 years and following a restructuring, I became redundant and whilst searching for another legal position decided to create the brand as I had always had an interest in sewing and handbags. I think looking back it was just an internal pull of sorts, leading me to be more creative.

What was the process behind creating the brand?
The main process was figuring out the business structure, making sure everything was legally compliant, ensuring that I had materials and the correct machinery to physically start making the initial designs. The bags were initially all handmade and I taught myself how to make functional and structural bags via studying ateliers on YouTube to help me hone my craft. This process took approximately a year until I thought my designs were good enough to be made public.

Amschela's Layilla in Sky Blue

Were there any risks or problems you had to overcome?
There are always risks with starting a business even if you have everything in place. I do not think my risks were exacerbated due to the perceived risks; however, I did experience other problems such as being made redundant. This subsequently had the effect of causing me to lose my family home. I was technically homeless for the 1st year of running the brand, which was extremely difficult, but ultimately, I made it work.

What sort of connection does Amschela have to Bristol?
Amschela is the definition of Bristol to me, I was born here, studied here, raised my family here. Bristol is who I am. I attended Colston Girls School and read law at The University of Bristol, graduating in 2003. Amschela is a thoroughbred of our City, encompassing multiple diversities and creativity all merged into one.

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Rebirth and Resilience 💜⁠ ⁠ The world has changed so much in the wake of Covid-19 and we have changed with it. Inspired by this idea, this stunning shot by @alexmac.creation celebrates a process of rebirth and renewal. ⁠ ⁠ Like the phoenix, our Amschela Women will rise from the ashes and emerge stronger than ever. With her bag tucked under her wing, she faces into the light, leaving the darkness behind her and looking towards a more optimistic future. ⁠ ⁠ Rising From The Ashes #WITHAMSCHELA ⁠ ⁠ Ft. the Thais in Deep Violet, available via the link in our bio. ⁠ ⁠ #editorialshot #femaleform #resilience #womensupportingwomen #luxuryfashion #veganleather #ethicalfashion #emergingdesigner #designerhandbag #nudeart #womanrising #risingfromtheashes ⁠ ⁠

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Amschela's Thais in Deep Violet 

What does this brand represent for you?
The brand represents confidence, kindness, transparency and grace. The women who align with us also hold these qualities. Amschela represents ‘affordable luxury within reach’ meaning it's attainable without losing its superior quality.

Can you tell me about the sustainable direction the company is taking?
The brand is currently shifting to become a fully vegan brand and we have recently just pledged to PETA to have the transition completed within the next 3 years. I think it's important to support the environment and animals and to not partake in animal cruelty.

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ENTRY 1: KEYS & HIM Key Fact: I'm always late even to my own diary (Actual Date: Friday 17th July) I guess we should really get the introductions out the way. “Hi, I’m Amschela, the CEO of my self entitled handbag brand”. Don't ask how I got here, I'm still trying to figure it out. Current Position: On the floor, behind my bed looking for my left shoe. (“Mummmm”), Hold on Niamh, I’m coming”....that’s one of my twin girls, it’s always something. I guess he’s outside. Who’s he? He is Him. He’s late as usual. School starts at 8.45am, the traffic is terrible. He won’t get them there on time, which means another reprimanding call from Mrs Edmunds (their teacher) will be on its way. I think she has my number on speedial (Doesn’t she know who I am? Does she not know how hard it is to get 5 year old girls out of bed at 6.30am?) I suspect the answer to both questions is ‘probably not’, (sigh). Back to him. I know the drill. Smile sweetly, hand the girls over and turn around like I don’t care. I actually don’t. Well, maybe I do... Shoe found. (Phone rings.. Where are my keys?) “Hello, Amschela speaking” “It’s only me Ella, no need to put on the accent” (Nadia, my assistant, nice girl but annoying as hell, I think she thinks we are friends) “What is it Nadia? … Damn, my attitude is on fire this morning. “Normans have called and there is a 3 week delay with the Thais handles, the manufacturers have 100 pre sold that need them ,we will be pushed back at least 6 weeks”. You see, these are the types of conversations that make me feel light headed. Can someone just throw me off a bridge, already? “Tell them I want them on my desk in 7 days” “But” “But nothing, Nadia” Suddenly, the urge of driving half naked to Edgewick Common and laying down with the cows seems so appealing. Why are my keys in the plant pot? “Niamh, Aiofe...hurry up, you're both going to be late”. Back to him. Look at him. Standing at the end of the driveway. This fad of doing the school run in a tracksuit is beyond me. Is he wearing Armani? Note to lawyer to increase maintenance, as he is obviously no longer broke. Tracksuit looks fake anyway. “Bye Girls, have a great day”. Where’s my damn keys!

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Diary of Amschela's fictional CEO

Do you have a favourite item in your collection?
My favourite item is definitely the Thais Vegan Croc Mini Bag. It is our very first vegan product and brings so much joy just wearing it.

Since your debut, you have very impressively appeared in Vanity Fair UK and British Vogue, do you have any plans to feature in magazines or other media?
I do not have any immediate plans for either myself or the brand; that being said it can change, my incoming emails are always full of requests and I choose to pick the ones that reflect the brand's values.

The fashion industry may be a large contributor to climate change; however, Amschela’s globally conscious attitude is inspiring and an important trajectory for manufacturing companies to follow.

Check out Amschela’s 40% off Bank Holiday sale until 31st August using the code: EXTEND40

Featured: Amschela / Instagram - @amschela


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