Founded in 2021, Bangkok-based luxury bag insert manufacturer Merandi believes that “the product that complements Hermès bags should not only add value in terms of functionality, but also artistic value of pride. owners”. Using the finest materials like Thai silk which has received badges from Queen Sirikit’s sericulture department, its products are of the highest quality to help Hermès bag owners organize items, maintain bag shape and protect its interior.
LUXUO spoke with the founders of Merandi to learn more about the inspirations and the creative process behind the brand.
You are based in Bangkok with many friends and clients all over the world. Tell us about your first steps into the world of luxury?
(Kate) The world of luxury is not new to me. I spent my high school years at a boarding school in England, where I read a lot of Vanity Fair and British Vogue, to improve my writing skills. It was my first point of contact. Graduated with a Master in Management at the London School of Economics, I then spent two years creating content for luxury brands based in Bangkok and New York.
(Grace) Having worked in a Michelin starred restaurant, I have always had a passion for luxury, hospitality and gastronomy. And actually, me and Kate, we’re both Hermès users. This plays an important role in enabling Merandi to be completely customer-centric. Our bag inserts are made by Hermès users for Hermès users.
What gave you the idea of making bag inserts and what problems have you encountered with those on the market?
Existing bags are simply not luxurious enough to complement these high value bags. We define luxury as craftsmanship, materials and design. These aspects verified, the bag inserts will then be worthy of Hermès.
Our products excel in every function – they help organize the items in the bag, keep the shape of the bag as it should be, and protect the inside of the bag from stains and scratches. These are extremely important for anyone who owns an ultra-luxury handbag because you need to maintain its value and market price when you want to resell it later.
How did the seven months of R&D go? What is the number of the final version of the Merandi insert that you designed and made?
It was definitely a lot of work, but there are no shortcuts. We’ve lost count of how many prototypes we’ve made. Some days we thought, “This is the best it can be,” only to wake up the next morning to find there was still room for improvement. Thai silks are delicate and complicated to sew, involving several techniques. We’re not one to settle for less, so it was a long process but also worth it.
Why did you specifically choose to manufacture only Hermès bags? Do you particularly like them?
With all the time and effort we put in, the end product is supposed to be the holy grail of handbags, which can only be Hermès, whose designs have always caught our eye on the street and online. Their bags effortlessly complement any look, and no matter how dressed up you are. We also have a deep respect for their know-how. Overall, the values we hold dear at Merandi align with those of Hermès – we showcase a longstanding heritage, which in our case is Thai silk, through a lens and products of modern luxury.
How did the idea of using Thai silk come about? It’s wonderful that you incorporate local craftsmanship and traditional craftsmanship into a luxury business like this. How was the process of finding these master weavers?
Not so many young bloods in Thailand are like us. We are absolutely captivated by Thai silk and recognize the craftsmanship that goes into it. People of our generation don’t see its value the way we do because they don’t experience it and don’t learn enough about it.
These Thai bristles don’t come easily. The process from yarn to yarn to fabric requires immense patience and creativity from the weavers. This fact adds to its prestige and value, making our inserts a luxury item, not just an ordinary product. It is the result of countless trips we have made throughout Thailand, to learn, discover and get to know the master weavers and their fabrics. Each trip has enhanced our expertise, and this is how we find the right ones to work with when we make all of our fabrics to order.
Did you select them according to certain criteria?
There are several details, some of which we cannot reveal. However, all of our Thai silks have received badges from Queen Sirikit’s Sericulture Department. These are awarded to fabrics that meet certain criteria and standards. And of course, our fabrics are sourced and produced in an ethical and sustainable way.
It’s quite interesting that you also encourage the use of contrasting colors, as the inserts are normally meant to blend in and not distract from the bag itself. How did this idea of color contrast come about?
All brands try too hard to match the color of the insert to that of the bag; we find that a bit boring. At Merandi, it’s all about breathing new life into your bag. It’s about falling in love with your bag all over again through the excitement of expressing your style in your choice of color scheme. Say, you and your friend both have a black Birkin. You choose a yellow Merandi insert to create a bumblebee look while your friend opts for a green. We are all different and unique, and that is what we encourage you to express. However, if customers would like the colors to closely match their bags, they can of course place a special order, for which we create silks in the colors and patterns requested.
We do not have a permanent collection as all Merandi silk colors are limited edition. Adding a Merandi bag insert to your Hermès bag is like adding more value to what is already valuable.
Do you plan to produce them in the full range of Hermès shades?
No, and our current designs and colors are in no way influenced by Hermès. We have our own creative journey, drawing inspiration from exotic hues, authentic patterns and weaving techniques. With these we create functional works of art, luxury bag inserts, and our customers recognize this when they first encounter our products.
Looking at the current combinations of bags and inserts, do you have a favorite color combination for the Birkin, the Kelly or the Lindy?
(Grace) Difficult question. My favorite combination would have to be Tequila, the white one with a very unique pattern, paired with my Hermès Kelly caramel. For this white fabric, we traveled to northern Thailand to develop the pattern we wanted with local weavers.
(Kate) For me, my black baby Birkin and a silver purple Merandi insert. It’s a special order piece, which means it’s the only bag insert in the world made from this custom fabric.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while setting up this project?
The huge challenge is how do we get the rest of the world to see what we see in Thai silk? It is a know-how that spans thousands of years. The process is very complex and complicated. Let us give you an example. To form silk threads, silkworms or Bombyx Mori must feast on mulberry leaves and build a cocoon with their spit. After that, the weavers will have to degumme the cocoons and the recovered silk will be boiled with various dyes. Then the silk goes through lengthy spinning and weaving processes. It is a journey that takes time, involving practical and natural processes.
Each country has a heritage and stories to show the world. For Thailand, silk is one of them. By creating inserts for Merandi bags, a luxury product of modern times, from this exotic material, we are determined that by the end of next year, Thai silks will find their way into Hermès bags in wardrobes. most coveted in the world.
You have a special order service for using limited edition bristles, but do you ever plan to make inserts for other brand bags in the future?
It’s definitely happening, and should be a separate brand but under the same umbrella as Merandi. At the moment, non-Hermès users can discover our brand through the brand new “Merandi Wrap” line, a CSR project in collaboration with Pasaya, a leading luxury textile brand in Asia.
Merandi luxury bag inserts are now available on merandiworld.com for Birkin, Kelly and Lindy, with more designs coming soon. There is also free shipping worldwide.
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