OCTA is a relatively new brand coming out of Thailand, which produces women’s bags in a variety of diamond shapes and gorgeous hues. The brand is currently only available online at its website at http://www.octabag.com and ships worldwide. Check out this brand, which is being coveted by celebrities and bloggers alike.
Recently, I interviewed the team behind OCTA bags. The interview is below.
BACKGROUND & BEGINNINGS
Who is behind OCTA bags?
The Founders of OCTA are two sisters from Thailand. The creative director of OCTA Sirikran Chaithavornsathien and her sister Thanya takes care of the operations side of the business.
What is the background of the people who are behind OCTA bags?
Our designer Sirikran is 27 years old. She didn’t graduate from fashion school, she studied Business Management but she loves fashion and is very creative. She mixed her knowledge of Marketing and her ability to design together and started doing what she loves.
Thanya is 31 years old and graduated from political school. She supported her sister in the creation of this brand.
How did OCTA bags come to be?
After she graduated, Sirikran wanted to build her own business and needed to decide between clothing and accessories. She discussed with her sister Thanya, who supported her to create womens bags.
A week later Sirikran drew an octagon bag, showed it to her sister and said “This is it”.
I assume that the name refers to the shape of many of your bags: octagonal. How did you come to this design?
OCTA means eight, which is Sirikran’s favourite number. Everything she creates, she put the symbol of eight behind it. She picked an emerald diamond to represent number eight and that became the concept of the brand.
On your website you’ve stated that “We want to create a mid high brand so, people can have a luxurious style in an affordable price”. For example, your clutches start at US$235 for the Candy, your cross-body at $210 in the Octavia, and finish with the Davia top handle bag at $650. You also have the Octavia wallet currently available in 6 gorgeous colours for $145. How do you keep the prices reasonable without sacrificing the quality?
In each price range, there’s a difference in the finishing of the leathers and the details. For example, the Octavia is a plain design, we don’t add much detail to it and the leather is of a good grade but does not have any texture. For Davia, we use premium leathers with nice textures and there are a lot of details including the design of the shape.
As for the quality, we have highly skilled craftsmen, so that we can control their fineness and quality.
What is the process for creating a new piece? Do you simply draw it and then have it produced or do you start playing with the leathers and stones to get ideas?
Mostly, our designer will draw it and she will seek the materials and hardware herself. She will discuss it with the pattern maker and create a prototype. After that she will let a team comment upon it. She really loves stones and she’s developing them now.
You said that the designer loves the stones and is developing them now. Do you mean that she is creating her own stones for use or she is developing a range of bags around particular stones?
She is developing a range of bags around particular stones.
How do you stay inspired?
She loves to create new things, so she always observes a trend and combine it with her imagination. Most of her works express herself, her favourites and her style a lot.
Do you make bags for different collections (seasonal or otherwise)?
We will start to do the seasonal bag next season.
Is there a theme for a collection?
Yes, we have a concept about the power of diamonds, which can control all women’s desire. We will present it in monotone.
For example, at the moment you have some beautiful pastel colours. Are these intended for a Spring/Summer theme?
Actually, we launch all bags in pastel colors because we would like to express the freshness of our brand to seem like the tenderness of youth.
Is Thailand your base because that’s also where your designers and founders are based?
Yes, it is.
The majority of your bags are made from leather. Is this locally sourced and tanned leather? Is it cowhide?
It is cowhide and most of the leathers are from Italy and finished in Thailand.
What is involved in producing an OCTA bag?
- Sourcing materials
- Producing the prototype
- Design proof
How long does it take for a single OCTA bag to be made? What are the processes involved?
It takes around a day for one single bag.
How did Sirikran go about sourcing people to make the bags?
The family has its own manufacturer.
Do you have people who work solely on OCTABAG such as your own production team?
Yes we do.
How did OCTA enter the competitive fashion market?
We start from social media (facebook and instagram) with the reasonable price and unique design. Customers then need to not be afraid to purchase even though they haven’t seen the products in real life. After that, it is word of mouth by customers, which helps us a lot for the message of reliability.
I found you via Instagram and to be honest it was that long ago that I don’t actually recall how, whether you liked one of my photos or I saw someone feature one of your bags. Do you find a lot of your website traffic and customers come from Instagram?
We would say all of our customers come from Instagram.
How important is social media for a brand such as yours?
Now it is so important, as this is a method which is really effective when you have a low marketing budget. It also allows us to create awareness all over the world without travelling.
How do you find customers on Instagram? Do you actively like photos with particular hashtags or like photos taken by followers of particular pages to attract them to your page to discover your bags?
We have many influential pages feature our designs on their page, which attracts customers and followers .
Do you have a favourite piece of all time?
The Asscher, it is the signature and it is the first design for OCTA
How about from this collection?
Mini Davia in Tangerine
What are your best-selling pieces?
Asscher in Mint.
How does it feel when you see people wearing your pieces?
I feel like I’m successful, my products cannot be found in stores and we are nobody. If they have it, that means they had high enough an incentive to visit the website and decide to buy it.
Have you had any particularly notable moments when someone has worn one of your pieces?
I remember, I sat alone at the airport and could not stop smiling when I knew that Bar Refaeli was wearing my bag . I could feel that the girl next to me noticed and laugh at me. It’s a bit embarrassing but I couldn’t help it!
How do you feel that your designs have evolved since you started out in 2012?
This is unbelievable! Within two years we have gone so far and faster than we’ve planned but we will make it better and better.
Do you have any words of wisdom to pass on to fellow designers hoping start their own label?
I want to tell them to start doing what they love. Sometimes passion can make you go further than knowledge. You can learn it while you do it. Imagination cannot be studied in class. You just need to know how to make it real.
What’s on the horizon for OCTA bag?
Within 5 years we aim to create OCTA SHOES, OCTA WATCHES and OCTA JEWELLERY. Watch this space!