The entire development team thought it might be fun for our customers to read about what we all do. The idea was to give everyone a chance to see the Arayla design process. We want to give you a peek inside, to show you what happens behind the scenes. We decided to streamline our tasks, knowing that we could not possibly convey all of our many duties. A simple blog post won’t do so we edited out all but the most exciting tasks.
Take a peek inside the Arayla design process and learn how each bag is made ethically in Los Angeles, California.
Our meetings take several days to complete quite often. What begins with a simple dream or flippant conversation may eventually end in a beautifully designed, well-thought-out and functional handbag. The meetings can become quite energized (especially after the matcha kicks in). We all try to talk over one another’s comments. Our ideas about design progress to feeling leather swatches that we have acquired from our assortment of tanneries. We check fashion trends to find the must-have color of the next season. We usually do that at least a half a year in advance.
We start the Arayla design process as a few of us set off to find just the perfect leather once we have come to a loose consensus. We make sure that the leather is not only perfect by our standards but also by our customers’. You could imagine our plight, trying to find something that will suit everyone. However, we push forward, pulling hides from the shelves and scratching them with our fingernails to test for sensitivity.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, we have been known to wrap ourselves in hides and emit our best Jon Snow impression. This test requires us to state to whoever is around that “Winter is coming.” We find the most perfect color of the most ideal type of leather as well. We have to find the most perfect pieces of that leather. This process could take hours since each hide is unique and carries its own characteristics. Imperfections and all.
The Arayla Design Process
Happy with our purchases, we head to our atelier with our minds full of designs. Once there, we meet with our master craftsman who listens to our ideas and then advises us, from his expert point-of-view of what will work both structurally and functionally. We don’t always hit our mark and are often redirected in a fantastic collaboration of creative ideas and experience-based knowledge. Our atelier’s team knows what we expect from them as we speak of what our customers expect of us.
We convey the requests and suggestions that our customers have shared with us, many times resulting in brilliant upgrades to our products.Once we have merged our ideas and thoughts with our experts and have left them with our leather, hardware and lining supplies, it is time to wait. This wait could take between four to six weeks. Meanwhile, imagine, we are questioning the designs and color choices. Did we choose wisely? Will our ladies love the new styles/colors? What do we do next?
Fast forward to the bag pick-up day. Butterflies cannot even begin to describe what we feel when we meet with our atelier. Nervous anxiety mixed with weeks of anticipation leads us to be a little giddy and frantic at the same time. Alas, any fears are usually unfounded, and our atelier team surpasses even our highest expectations with bags that are simply stunning. Have there been glitches in the past, of course, no company goes without its ups and downs. Excitedly, we leave our atelier with a supply of bags that any fashionista would be happy to own.
Have we intrigued you yet? Have we shown you all some of the fun and creative things that we get to do? Well, with the good goes bad. “What’s the bad?” you may ask? Well, imagine again, if you will, taking one of these beautifully crafted, artisan bags and subjecting it to the rigors of daily life. Most ladies would cringe seeing the tests through which we put our bags. Many fear to get small scratches or wear marks on their bags so much that they pamper them. Who wouldn’t when one is spending hard-earned money on these luxury (yet essential) items. The first trial is always the hardest when we take our pristine bags, fill them with our daily essentials, and hit the road.
While being “road” tested, our bags are filled to their maximum capacity (and then some), subjected to extreme weather conditions of heat, rain, snow, humidity and anything that nature throws our way. We don’t ever pamper or shield our bags from anything. They take the abuse of all types. Bags are stuffed under airline seats, carried through amusement parks and sporting events, packed with computers, files and books, used as diaper bags, and taken to the beach.
They have also all encountered their share of foods and drinks spilled in and on them. Moms, students, and executives have carried them. One of the girls on the team, who uses her Hepburn each day for work thought it would be fun to weigh her bag, which she found to be close to 15 pounds regularly. While we wouldn’t recommend this due to strain on your back, know that your bag would hold up like a champ. The straps, lining, structure, and integrity of the bag still look in near new condition, and this bag has been carried daily for over 6 months.
We test all of the leathers by scratching, rubbing, pulling, stretching, and smashing each test bag. We believe that we have been meticulous in our trials, but we continue to march on in our quest to make sure that our bags will hold up to anything our customers might encounter.
The results, after all of our harsh testing, are bags that, while softer and more pliable than the first day we carried them, not only meet each day with vigorous enthusiasm but also, once conditioned with an appropriate leather product, remain exquisite. These bags retain their beauty across the years like the women who carry them. The idea at the heart of Arayla is to create luxury handbags that can be effortlessly carried by women through all stages of life. We can confidently tell you, our loyal customers, that our bags meet the tests (and trials) of time and will accompany you through your busy, days, months and years. Arayla bags are heirloom pieces that will gladly stand by your side as you set forth and live your life to the fullest.