Today’s post is a guest post by Gina Dunn, that I was lucky enough to have met throughout the past year. Her smile and determination usually gives me so much energy to keep on working towards my goals.
Here goes Gina.
Salomé, the Belgian – French world traveling handbag designer was schooling me on the ways of the world in places such as South-East Asia.
She’s a bit of a walking contradiction. Though petite in stature, she’s got grand goals for herself, her company and the world. In the land of foie gras, boeuf bourguignon, and high end cheese, she is vegan. So is her accessories company Wonder Women of the World, comprised mainly of handbags.
The handbags are made with traditional weavings from some of the places to which she has traveled like Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. They are also a celebration of the long tradition and heritage of the women who made them.
As Salome spoke of the culture of weaving, mentally I was transported to an evening of women of various generations sitting together outside carrying on a craftsmanship that transcended to other times gone by while the sun cast a golden hue on the wrinkled as well as the youthful hands of weavers. When speaking of their inspiration for patterns, “Sometimes it’s simply a crack in the wall” she tells me. She noticed in many of these places, the women are doing everything including taking care of the family, cleaning the house, working in fields as well as weaving. She was in awe of their strength and power.
Like most women, Salome experienced the frustration of needing to change her handbag when life goes from day to night or to match an outfit. We’ve all made the switch only to have left our wallet or metro card in the other handbag. Salomé’s solution, don’t change the bag. Change the way you use it. Take out the strap and you have your day bag, take it off and there comes your evening clutch.
The handbags themselves are constructed in France and made from material such as cotton and PU. She is also looking to experiment with leathers made from materials like banana peels and pineapple skin.
Salomé isn’t just celebrating women. She’s empowering them as well. Femmes Actives, a French association she partners with, teaches skills to women that will make them more employable.
Her ultimate dream is for Wonder Women of the World to be representative of women from all countries. As the interview was wrapping up, she handed me a tote. Imprinted big and boldly was the company logo, Wonder Women of the World with the tagline, « We Are All Women ».
I’d argue Salome is empowering us all (both men and women) by setting the example that women’s empowerment can come in the form of tying tradition with the new as well as the idea of entrepreneurship for all.
To empower artisan women, you can preorder a WWoW accessory.
Feel free to comment on this post for any question !
Gina Dunn is on LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginavdunn/fr