Angie Kim Hand Painted Her Ombre Leather Bags With Love


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Designer Angie Kim spends most of his days in his Bayview studio creating hand-painted ombre accessories for his leather goods line AYK. Kim a year ago spear a Kickstarter campaign that surpassed his goal of $ 30,000 and raised over $ 32,000 for his new business. Today the old IDEO The product designer finds the joy of working on her own brand and balancing the design and commercial aspects of managing AYK.

Recently Kim launched her new spring collection from AYK with a new color, Mojave, a warm brown gradient which is featured in her new design, the generous size. Simple tote. Its leather line presents classic and timeless styles, such as the pompom Versa pouch very trendy Moon bucket bag. Prices range from $ 46 for a keychain to $ 695 for the bucket bag.

We had the chance to chat with Kim about her business, her meditative design process, and her favorite places to hang out in the city.

What prompted you to change your career from product designer at IDEO to create your own line of leather goods?

IDEO has helped me prepare to face AYK and instilled in me the confidence to get through the turbulent times of entrepreneurship. The weather there was rewarding in every way. I was challenged as a designer and surrounded by truly spectacular individuals who opened my eyes and mind to ways of approaching problems. I learned what a consultant is, that is, listening to your clients’ needs, their needs and helping organizations create achievable opportunities.

In 2012, a project brought me to India for seven months. Every day I passed manufacturers and artisans creating beautiful products. I admired the privacy of their work and the direct relationship they had with their clients. Being exposed to this kindled the fire that had been smoldering for years. It was the last nudge I needed to take the plunge and continue my own line. All the fear of losing what I currently had, all of my savings, of failing, was not worth the potential of what I could do with this idea – it begged me to be in the world.

Photo: Mélissa Ryan

What do you love about designing and creating your own products? How do you decide what to do each season?

I’m a dreamer and love to create, and as I discover the world around me, ideas for what I want to create next emerge quite naturally. As I live, learn and grow, so do my ideas. And at one point it’s like an itch that I can’t ignore and I feel that undying desire and excitement to see what it will become. What I find absolutely magical about this process is the transformation of an idea into something tangible and real.

What process do you go through when hand dyeing leather?

With every hide I get, I go through an internal “thank you” process (it looks cheesy, I know). The intention is to honor her previous life and the life she will continue to have with her new owner.

When I hand dye each piece of the pattern, it’s kind of a meditative experience. Each part of the skin reacts to the dye differently and absorbs the color differently, so I can stay alert to the process as I work on each one. I put my soul into this step, because I feel that some of the love and care taken in its creation will be transferred to its owner. The intention is for the end product to be a one-of-a-kind work of art.

Photo: Hip Kid Blog

Photo: Hip Kid Blog

How is a typical day in the studio going for you? How do you juggle between the design side and the business side?

It’s the more difficult for me, balancing the two. Both are extremely demanding and require total concentration. Design comes with ease as this has been my formal training and experience. Being a one-woman show and discovering the business side as I build AYK is more difficult and sometimes frustrating. I take each day one at a time and do my best on the schedule to focus on certain aspects, whether it’s production, new product design, operations, marketing, sales or connection with the community.

Your Kickstarter campaign last year raised approximately $ 32,000. What was the motivation for AYK crowdfunding?

Kickstarter was a wonderful platform in so many ways. It allowed me to articulate the vision and share the story of AYK directly with clients. It was also a great way to gauge interest in the products on offer and to go through the process of delivering more orders. I learned excellent lessons in logistics, supplier management, correspondence with customers, communication and problem solving through surprising incidents and unexpected obstacles related to the production and delivery of the product. .

Photo: Claudia Goetzelmann

Photo: Claudia Goetzelmann

What’s next for AYK?

There are some exciting products in the works that involve increasing the styles offered and also products that are branching out into other directions like housewares or electronics. I also collaborated with five other designers to create a collective that we call Edition No.6. We just hosted our first showroom event and plan to host more in the future. It’s a great way for us to plan interesting events together, showcase our work, and be able to share the experience of this trip with female entrepreneurs and a like-minded community.

Photo: Claudia Goetzelmann

Photo: Claudia Goetzelmann


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