Interview – How it started for workbag brand Amza bags
Amza Bags, workbags crafted for you – the businesswoman. AMZA’s mission is to empower the modern woman on the go. The workbag label is designed by working women for working women. Founded by 3 ambitious women, Ruxandra, Laura and Ariadna who saw the need of many women for a beautiful, elegant bag that does not compromise on basic functionality. That’s why Amza bags created bags that work for you in your busiest moments. They elevated the functionality with an elegant and timeless design. Sustainably handcrafted in Europe they are built to last throughout your career.
We talked with one of the founders – Ariadna – to get to know how it all started for Amza bags, how the journey is going and what is planned for the future.
First, can you - Ariadna - tell us something more about yourself?
I started my career as a financial controller in an Oil and Gas company and switched to management consulting after a few years because I wanted more diversity in my work experience. The role was both very exciting and demanding, so I was paying extra attention to anything that could make my life even slightly better: shirts that need little ironing, spacious handbags and so on. I am currently doing my MBA at London Business School, which gave me the flexibility to actually work on AMZA.
My co-founders have very different backgrounds: Ruxandra is a serial entrepreneur, having had her own bespoke shoe atelier. She is also a mother and a fitness guru, so I have a lot of respect for her. Laura is my best friend since college and besides running her own side business, she is a digital mastermind – she knows everything about online marketing, the latest tools in the digital world and what not.
Why did you want to start a fashion brand?
AMZA started from my own need as a travelling management consultant. I was frustrated how many options for functional, elegant laptop bags were for men and how few options were for women. I was ranting about this over a coffee to one a friend of my best friend and a few months later, once the idea settled the 3 us thought: “well, why not actually do it?”
Why particularly a fashion brand specialized in workwear?
It started quite selfishly: from my own need. I say selfishly because in the beginning I felt bad I could not find a work bag for myself, while all my male colleagues found for them. Almost like I was doing something wrong.
But then I realized that it is not fair that one one hand all the organizations and brands talk so much about gender equality and woman empowerment, but workwear for professional woman is still so hard to find! So we had quite early on, probably even before the AMZA existed as a brand, the mission to do something about it, to walk the talk and offer something specifically designed for working women.
How did you start Amza Bags?
It started with forming a team. Ruxy and Laura are best friends since they were in middle school. I met Laura in college and we immediately connected – both of us were super outspoken and direct. It was actually over a meeting between me and Ruxy (that almost did not happen, because both of us were so busy at the time) that the first seeds of the idea were planted. A few months later it came almost natural to think: “Why don’t the three of us make a business out of this idea?”. All of us were still committed to other jobs or projects, so we did all the ideation in our little free time. We were not in a hurry to launch, but we really wanted to get the product right.
What kind of difficulties did you face while building your fashion brand?
The biggest challanges were that, although we had complementary skills and knowledge, neither one of us had direct experience with working in fashion. From the production part of the business: finding the right producer, the right materials and the optimal (read best value for money) logistical solutions to the more relation – based part of a brand: how do you do PR, which marketing channels work best for a fashion brand. We had to learn all of these on the go, which was quite a ride.
What was till now the best accomplishments?
The positive feedback we receive on our bags. When women come back to us and say that it fits all their needs, our hearts skip a beat.
I am also quite proud that we continued to work so well as a team, despite the fact that we are all living in different parts across Europe and the fact that we launched our product just at the start of the lockdowns in Europe.
What makes Amza bags unique in comparison to other workwear brands?
One fundamental thing: our functionalities are designed together wth the working women we most admire. Many workwear brands might start with functionality in mind, but then quickly start making compromises so that the final product fits the designer’s idea.
We asked over 100 women what they truly want and need in their work bag, we made a short list with the most commonly desierd items and made no compromise. We implemented all of them in our bag, in their most practical form. Only then we thought of the overall looks and feels of the bag. We of courses wanted a feminine, elegant piece that can be prized accesory of a women’s workwear and we hope we achieved that. But at it’s core, it’s all about the functionality without compromises.
What is the your ultimate dream?
Our ultimate dream is to make all women feel like they belong in the workplace of their choice. We hope to achive that by oferring them high quality products, designed specifically for their needs.
We want to continue to learn about how can we support working women even more. Whether is better products or completely new ones than what currently exists on the market, or just a place of encouragement and support, we want to be there for them.
What are the next steps for Amza bags?
This year has been a strange one. Not just for us, but for everyone. So for now we just want to continue to be there for the women that count on us – to deliver our products on time, to be there for the women that count on us and to show the support for the women we admire.
Going forward, we have some new product ideas in the making, we want to grow our community around our common interests (such as returning to the workplace, the new ways of working and career advice in the new work reality)
Thank you Ariadna for the interview!
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