Turning love for leather bags into a business

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 07 2012 12:14 PM | Updated as of Apr 07 2012 08:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Two young entrepreneurs have turned their love for leather bags into a business.

Kaye Sinson, co-owner of Sinude Bags, is a lawyer by profession but that did not stop her from starting a bag business with a close friend.

"One day, my friend Suzy and I were having coffee, she was at a point in her career she wanted a change and I always wanted to go into business, so why not combine our love for bags and do business," she said on ANC's ShopTalk.

Sinude Bags started in 2011, out of their mutual love for leather and bags.

"Just because we love leather a lot. Its a premium material. People who appreciate leather really put a premium on quality. We love the smell, the feel and the fact that with the proper care, it can last 10, 20 years," she said.

Initially, Sinude used imported leather, but now they source leather locally from Bulacan. "(The bags) are made by Filipino artisans," Sinson said.

Sinude's first collection featured bags in mostly neutral colors, but the current collection now offers bright colored leather tote bags and clutches.

Sinson said they want to change the preconception that leather bags are expensive and not practical, by introducing playful colors and trendy designs. Sinude's Riviera tote bag costs only P4,800, while the Coachella cross-body bag comes in 7 colors and cost P2,500.

"Working with leather, the market is not saturated. There is room for you and your vision, unlike man-made leather market is so saturated," she said.

The School of Satchel

Another entrepreneur who turned her love for bags into a business is Bianca Donato, who owns The School of Satchel.

On ANC's ShopTalk, Donato said she always wanted to work with leather. "When you see a really good leather bag, it evokes a sense of luxury or power. And when you travel with bags made of really good quality leather or wool, you know your items are always safe," she said.

The School of Satchel uses locally-sourced leather, which is always a surprise for customers who mistakenly assume good leather is always imported.

"It's good that we can educate customers about the leather industry in the Philippines, that we have good craftsmen here," she said.

Donato started her business last year and her first collection featured the classic satchel. She said she loved how the satchel can be used from day to night, and can be used during travels and office.