It was that time of the year again! I was busy planning my visit to our artisan factories in Korea. From tickets, to hotel stays, a few days for vacation, factories to visit, new materials to discover and new designs to sample. It was going to be an action packed 8 days in Seoul! And to top it all, I invited my parents to join us from India for a small family reunion as well. There never seems to be enough hours in a day when you are a small business owner! But I personally thrive on multi tasking and wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂 This work/vacation was exhausting, yet so much fun.
Our trip began with a whole day of sightseeing in Seoul. (Thanks to Trivadvisor!) We witnessed the guard changing ceremony at the Gyeongbokgung Palace and then headed onto the Jogyesa temple. With beautiful streets of traditional Korean homes called Hanok and seeing women in their traditional Korean dresses called Hanbok; it was exciting to experience the culture first hand. I also got to share a traditional vegan Korean meal with my family (who are not vegan by the way). Thanks to the Happy Cow App, we found a few spots to hit during our stay. My favorite was our lunch at Ose Gye Hyang. They also had a selection of vegan food items (including Violife cheese) for purchase.
The rest of the week was packed with factory visits. I found some amazing new materials to work with made from Hanji, traditional Korean Mulberry tree leaf paper. It replicates the look of leather, is completely plastic free and eco friendly. I’m currently developing samples to test out the materials with our artisans. I also got to meet all our artisans in person, check factory quality and also witness the all new Rotunda bag being made. The art of handmade bags is truly a fading one. I’m glad to help revive this lost art through Gunas New York.
Next we also headed to our shoe artisan shop where our first batch of handmade shoes were made. We discussed introducing a new 2.5 inch heel stiletto to the collection this year. Being a completely self funded company, we are slow at introducing new styles as we want to maintain quality, create styles that appeal to many while adding value and usability to them instead of making plain boring bags with no aesthetic or functionality. The visit this year was extremely successful and I accomplished a lot in terms of planning styles and production. We are constantly striving to improve our quality and offerings and I take personal interest in every aspect of the brand. Thanks so much for all your love and support for my cruelty-free premium fashion label Gunas Girls! I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into my designer life and what goes on behind the scenes in the ethical making of the products hand made with love.