|Image c/o Angela&Roi|
Awhile back, I was approached by Angela&Roi--an online handbag brand combining fashion and philanthropy by color--to write about them. Having a weakness for bags, and very impressed with their mission to give back to society (a portion of each handbag sale is donated to non-profit health organizations), I agreed.
My decision also stems from something more personal, as a very close aunt of mine was recently diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Lung Cancer awareness is represented by the color white, so for example, every time someone purchases a white bag, five dollars is donated to the Lung Cancer Alliance. Take a look at the picture below is a quick overview of what cause each color represents.
|Image c/o Angela&Roi|
Classically designed, Angela&Roi handbags are all made of high quality vegan leather, and manufactured in Korea. Each bag is adorned with a similarly colored Angela&Roi Signature Ribbon Logo, an upside-down ribbon symbolizing innovation, creativity, and style. Their pragmatic web-based sales approach allows for competitive pricing, saving on investments needed for a brick and mortar shop. Brilliant marketing scheme!
Angela, the co-founder and Chief Fashion Officer of Angela&Roi very kindly agreed to answer some of my questions:
How was Angela&Roi born?
Roi and I fell in love before we combined our philanthropic ideologies into a powerful fashion brand. When we attended a fashion show that supported AIDS with the red ribbon, we got inspired and applied the concept to the Angela&Roi handbag brand. We believed we could create a sustainable model where fashion consumerism meets philanthropy. When Roi was 10, his father was diagnosed with diabetes and faced a serious cerebral hemorrhage. It was then he recognized the most significant factor in an individual's life is health; so we decided to focus on health issues. We realized there are so many people and families in the world who struggle with health problems and don’t get enough support.
Seeing that with my own eyes, I couldn't agree more with you. Has it been difficult being business partners? Did being in love help?
|Image c/o Angela&Roi|
We believe in ourselves; we are always telling ourselves we can do it together no matter how hard it gets. We extend this mantra to our team as well; it’s so important to be able to work together as a team and be productive, effective, and efficient. Self-improvement is key in life! Roi and I are proud to have built a structure that can successfully help people and purely do good. We believe over time, other people will understand why we are applying this 'do good' mission to our brand and join our movement. We are ambitious and enthusiastic about our work because we love Angela&Roi.
That's very inspirational... What would you say has been your biggest business challenge?
Both Roi and I had no expertise in the fashion industry, since I was still in school and Roi had just graduated from college. We have a big dream and are trying to start a movement, but something that we cannot control is how other people perceive our company. This is a concern for us because there are many companies with a 'do good' concept in the U.S. market, and not all of them built a brand purely meant to help others. We try to communicate our core values (concept, mission, and movement), and be as transparent as possible to build a trustworthy relationship with our customers.
I'm pretty sure your customers appreciate that! Where do you see Angela&Roi in five years? Will you be expanding and shipping to other countries outside of the US?
Angela&Roi is a brand set out to create a movement. What is a movement—does anybody really know? We want to not only fulfill our mission, but to also make it thrive and inspire change for others. Through our local charity partner, The Ellie Fund, we plan to build personal relationships with the patients that we support through Angela&Roi donations. We want fashion to thrive in the hands of philanthropy, not only with Angela&Roi, but for the entire industry can indulge positive change. One cause close to our hearts is Autism; we would love to build an Angela&Roi community to support such a great cause! Currently, some of our retail partners ship internationally. To expand the business, we must first create a strong foundation here in the US. Slowly we will shift our movement to a more global level.
Be honest, do you have a favorite out of all the designs produced so far?
It’s like asking which child you love more, can you really answer such a question! I love each of the Angela&Roi handbags equally. Each has its own aesthetic bringing timeless beauty to women with classic design, a modern touch, and trendy colors. With Angela&Roi, looking classy does not have to be expensive.
Can you describe the type of woman Angela&Roi embodies?
I believe every piece of clothing you wear tells a story, and every Angela&Roi handbag has a voice that brings a different kind of value to fashion as well as hope to those in need. In creating our movement, we want people who believe in Angela&Roi, and have strong core values like we do to carry our handbags. Whoever personifies the power women possess. Whoever believes what we believe. Whoever is beautiful from the inside out. Whoever is a leader and inspiration not only to fashionistas, but also to women looking for hope. Whoever would be delighted to join our movement and help other women everywhere recognize the power fashion carries.
Last but not least... Do you have any advice for fledging business start-ups?
Make sure to set your own strong philosophy before you go into the industry. There are a number of things that will make you doubt your decisions, business model and other important values. However, if you have a strong philosophy and rules, it will lead you to the right direction.
I'm a huge supporter of businesses who don't just focus on the bottom-line, but are sincere in helping others such as Angela&Roi. It has been such a honor to hear their story and write about the brand. If you're looking to refresh your bag collection, I strongly encourage you to consider buying an Angela&Roi handbag. You'll be getting a new bag, and quite possibly, helping to save a life in the process. I think that's reason enough! You can purchase Angela&Roi handbags from their website or via BlueFly.
I've fallen in love with their Palette Cross-body bag in White. It reminds me of a much more minimalist version of a Cambridge Satchel, and I can think of so many ways to style it. I'd love to hear which Angela&Roi bag catches your fancy, let me know in the comments below!
Disclosure: Compensation was not provided by Angela&Roi. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Angela&Roi.