Meet Yoana: Owner behind Armadillo Handbags
I "virtually" sat down with 3 women behind a few of our favourite Canadian Brands. I wanted to know how COVID-19 has affected their businesses, how they are pivoting, and coping during this pandemic. The last few months have been challenging for the entire world, and it is so important that we continue to connect with one another.
Our second interview in the series is with Yoana, the owner behind Armadillo Bags, my favourite Canadian handbag company! I fell in love with these structured, ultra-feminine bags a few years ago and after meeting Yoana I loved the company even more! This woman's warmth and kindness is contagious. I am honoured to share our conversation here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and the company:
Armadillo is a lifestyle brand dedicated to the design and manufacture of leather goods under ethical standards using eco-friendly production solutions. Our workshop is based in Colombia from where we source our signature hides and work in collaboration with talented craftsmen. Armadillo’s bags are designed to last and handmade under ethical standards with eco-friendly materials. Leather is a byproduct of the meat industry making our bags sustainable and long lasting reducing the waste impact in this little planet of ours.
We sourced our leather from certified tanneries with smart systems of water that use less chemicals. We are a fair trade business because we believe that people deserve to live with dignity. Please say NO to PVC or lab made faux leather or pleather and join the revolution of plastic reduction. We welcome you to experience the opportunity to build and personalize your own bag with us and to make the difference in this era of fast-fashion.
What inspired you to start your own business?
My passion and love for natural materials like leather and the theory of colour. The infinite possibilities of designs made in high quality materials using eco-friendly resources. I believe in equality and same opportunities for all, reason why we value and support Fair Trade.
What do you wish you knew before you had started?
I wish I knew how to implement more marketing strategies and that's what we are working hard to achieve. I also wish I knew a few trends to inspire my first collections and a little bit of budget management.
What's one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have two ahahah. I can speak Japanese and recently started taking piano lessons with my mother in law (Yes, I bought a piano during Covid-19).
What has been the biggest challenge you've had to face during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Definitely the financial loss and fearing that my newest 2020 collection can potentially become outdated.
What's the first thing you plan to do once this pandemic is over and we finally have a "new normal"?
I will host a huge sale to be able to move on to the next styles of bags keeping it more simple and useful not so much into the luxury line. We are also working to transition to more online sales and wholesale, however we will continue with our most important markets since we love engaging in local events and meeting new people.
What's your best accessorizing tip?
Wear a bag that's unique and stands out!! BE YOU!!! Try to avoid carrying too much in your purse, your back will thank me. Also, when possible, wear a different purse every day, mix-match them with your shoes and don't fear to wear the same purse in a formal, Semi-formal or informal dress code.
What is the best place for people to connect with you further online?
At our markets in Edmonton and Calgary for now. You can reach out through email, Instagram, FB or even text message! We love to connect in any possible way!