Trinidad & Tobago
3 min read
Cork handbags are often associated with the coast of Portugal however, if you happen to stumble upon them in Tobago then it is extremely likely it is from Osanie.
The Lifestyle brand created by Avien Osanie Thomas in 2015 has continued to create unique, bright and luxurious designs aimed at her desired target audience that she calls, “Boss Ladies”.
“Honestly, I just wanted to do something different. Something that was pretty and luxurious.” After doing some research she came across a company in Portugal that created the cork material and decided to try her designs with it. From that first creation to now, it has continued to be one of her bestsellers.
While Thomas always wanted to build a lifestyle brand, it really began with her disdain for buying expensive handbags that would quickly begin to deteriorate after minimal use. “I thought why don’t I just make my handbags? I know what I want”. Soon after that, she began creating her designs and hasn’t looked back since.
While Thomas is honest about her lack of sketching skills, she says she finds inspiration from everywhere, from brands she loves like Kate Spade to Luxury Instagram accounts. Once she has that moment of inspiration, she thinks about how she would change it and add it to her own touches and preferences. Then she writes out the measurements, cuts and colours she wants. From there she goes straight into the creation of the product. “Sometimes I start with one idea and I finish with a totally different thing.”
Each of her designs though, no matter the origin, has her signature “look” that bridges vibrant colours with luxury materials.
Thomas’s skills are not only limited to her creativity but also her business practices. She carefully thinks about what will be the best options both for her customers and her output. One of the best examples of this is during the pandemic when she decided to focus on some new products that would more align with her customers who were living, like her, in lockdown. This includes her stationery brand and her home fragrance line.
“I want Osanie to be a lifestyle brand, so although it started with handbags my intention was always to diversify and evolve for the lady that I am catering for. I look at her entire lifestyle because eventually, I want Osanie to cater to her entire lifestyle”.
Like many local artisans, keeping up with demand and staying on top of the many aspects of being a creative entrepreneur can be difficult. She comes up with designs, creates products, manages social media content and handles customer inquires all within a single day. Thomas isn’t hesitant to discuss the reality of being an entrepreneur, “it is a lot. That’s why I made this my job because I know in order for me to get where I want to be I have to put everything I have into my business”.
Yet she still considers the best options for production. She shares that she recently invested in the equipment for her stationery products and is teaching someone how to create the products after she designs them. For her, this is the best option so that her business can keep up with sales and simultaneously allow her to remain dedicated to her craft and run a business. She elaborated, “I don’t expect to make everything for Osanie. I don’t think I can grow like that.”
Balancing the creative and business elements of any business but Thomas continues to do so. As Christmas quickly approaches she is continuing to expand her product line and continue her goal of reaching more customers in the Trinidad market.
If you are interested in learning more you can find Osanie products on their website.
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