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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Find The Croft Magazine inside every copy of Epigram Newspaper