Enthusiastic, creative, bold and visionary!
These words best describe the designer Nataly Brunner who is behind Philini bags.
These are not your ordinary bags, these are handcrafted little wonders with soul!
We hope that you will be inspired as we are, this is a short interview to spark your imagination, read and enjoy.
Visit Philini to find out more about this extraordinary brand.
1. How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a designer?
If we are talking about the creation of the bags, I guess the design found me by chance. When I moved to Germany – all that I wanted was a family, to raise my son and have my peace. I was too tired. In Moldova, my creativity and business started a bit too early and I wanted a break. But very fast things changed. I moved to a new city (Nuremberg). One day while a good friend of mine visited me, during our walk through the city we saw an announcement that a designer looks for a helper in her atelier-boutique hanging on the door. At that time, my German was very bad, so my friend translated everything for me. I got that job and remained there for two and a half years. It was an interesting, hard time but I learned a lot. When I began to work there, I didn`t have any aspiration for my own business but the experience I made pushed me in the right direction.
2. What is your main philosophy in business?
Intuition. Respect. Trust. Learning. Hard work. Fun.
I always try to surround myself and to work with people that I like a lot making a pleasant and relaxed ambiance for all, even if this breaks some of the key business rules.
Passion and the inner drive are the motor for everything. The customers feel this and know that they are loved and cared.
3. We need your honest opinion on what makes your bags so unique?
The women that like my bags make them unique. These are not the women that you will often meet in a spotlight, but very often women who have interesting jobs, sometimes very surprising and serious and my bags are for their creative souls. I would say often the “backstage” people. And let’s be honest – what can be more intriguing than what is in the backstage? So, if you see a woman with a Philini bag – be sure, this woman has a real story. 😊
4. Is there some special – popular product that launched your business in the right direction, forward?
Hard to say. The Domi’s bag is the favorite I guess, but I think it is more about the feeling when you touch Philini bags. For me this is the most important factor – they must be nice to touch outside and inside.
5. Can you briefly describe the creative process from raw material to shop using one of the bags that you have designed as an example?”
Let’s take the Bag Domi as an example. First, there is a woman with the name Dominika, her short name is Domi. At that time, I was inspired by her character and her way to be. I designed the bag based on that and so the bag got its name. After I designed it, together with the product developer – we made the first sample. After the sample was made – it went into the next step – the choice of materials. The materials are bought in Germany and Italy. The artisans from Atelier make the first step and cut the bag details manually, no laser cutters. Yes, sewing machines are involved, without these, the product price could significantly increase. You can see the whole creation process of Domi’s Bag in the pictures. After the bags are made – they are shipped to Germany.
6. As you described earlier all the products are designed in Germany then made in Moldova by skilled artisans, so are your products entirely handmade? Could you describe who exactly makes your product and how?
The biggest part of the work is handmade. We create the bags in Atelier, not the manufacturer, the process is different. For every bag a maximum of 3 people are involved in the process, one of them carefully put all together, knowing the bag perfectly from beginning till end. You can feel it on the product – the bags are very harmonic and every detail is in its place, balanced and the forms are special. The biggest difference from a mass product is that in mass production many people are involved that know only a small detail of the bag.
7. Is it important to you that your bags stay handmade and in a way limited edition, and why?
Also in future, we will have limited editions, at least limited colors. But it is not easy because the business has to develop. Handmade is important because nowadays the biggest luxury isn`t the name, but the time that one invests into the product for the customer. Very often, our customers say that Philini bags have a soul. I think the limited editions and the fact that the bags are handmade– make them so special and unique.
8. What kind of material is used for the Philini bags?
We use the best leather that is soft and nice to touch. Maybe it is not so easy to care, but it keeps the natural feeling, not the feeling of a plastic bag. Aniline leather, vegetable tanned leather are the favorites. We don’t use exotic leather, it is not our style and perception. And also for our summer collections, we often use African fabrics, natural cotton.
9. We have seen that you are very active on social networks, where do you promote your work most? Do you spend much time do you spend on marketing?
I am active on social networks, but I wish I could start it much earlier and more often. It is very hard to handle when you are in a creative process and totally absorbed by it. Instagram and Facebook are the basics. Twitter and Snapchat are still not my real things, but you never know…
10. How do you see your business evolving in the next few years? Would you like to upscale your business? If so, how?
Well, for the moment I see it evolving in the inside processes. Our team grows up, more partners appear. I guess it will evolve based on the invested passion of these people and their results. I don’t have a master plan and I am always open for surprises, for what will come in the next few years, because I know that every person involved will change it a bit… Let’s talk about it when it is upscaled…