Today we’re spotlighting our Design Entrepreneur Ayana Evans for Yana Handbags. Learn more about her and be sure to read the entire interview because you will remember her three fun facts!
Can you tell us about your business?
YANA is a handbag company that embraces high art aesthetics, whimsical humor and socially conscious business practices. Our designs merge artistic themes of women in love with practical function and luxury details, such as 18k gold plated custom hardware based on designer Ayana Evans’s favorite childhood earring and metal labels with hand sewn satin bow details. Special concern is given to creating light weight handbags, with comfortable straps, and easily accessible pockets. The label also always offers custom orders. Our customers like being having access to one-of-a-kind/limited edition products. We are fashion X art.
A portion of all YANA’s online sales are given to charity. Additionally, YANA’s eco-friendly snake skin bags are made of re-purposed leather and feature vegetable dyed linings. YANA supports local artisans and always strives to ensure that each worker at the factories the company contracts are paid fair wages and given safe, clean working conditions.
When did you start your line?
Technically YANA Handbags LLC was formed in 2007. The unofficial start was in 2004, but everything was in my kitchen then and I mostly sold to friends back then.
Why did you start it?
I always loved fashion, bags especially. I wanted to have a job that I couldn’t be laid off from during the recession and I wanted to work in an area thatt was creative but wasnt exactly the same as working in the visual “art world” (my background is in painting). It may sound crazy because fashion is so volatile, but that’s why I started my business.
Can you give us three words to describe the brand?
Art, socially-conscious and beautiful.
What’s your signature?
The waist bag (e.g. the fanny pack.)
What’s your favorite piece of your collection?
The black quilted waist bag with a gold doorknocker.
Why did you apply to DENYC?
I wanted to grow my business and I felt I had hit a wall. I felt I would get the guidance and mentorship I needed from this program, so I applied.
What do you hope to get out of the program?
I hope to gain long lasting mentoring relationships, strong connections to other designers, and a business plan that I can use as a road map for the next two years of my company’s growth.
Best part of being a NYC designer?
You get invited to cool parties.
Learn more about the brand at Yana Handbags.