Osanie, the High End Eco-Friendly Brand
In 2015, Avien Osanie Thomas, launched a luxury handbag line bearing her middle name, Osanie. The thirty something young woman designs and makes her products in her native Tobago. In 2020, she began designing and producing stationary products that are unique and stylish. Osanie takes pride in creating high quality handbags, accessories and stationery items of premium quality and contemporary designs. The designer, with a sense of humor, strives to keep her brand environmentally friendly. Caribbean Essence spoke with the dynamic entrepreneur to learn more about her made to order products as well as Osanie herself.
Photos provided by Avien Osanie Thomas
CE: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
AOT: I have been fascinated by exquisite fashion since an extraordinarily young age. As a little girl I dreamed of creating flawless masterpieces that would be worn by beautiful and important people. However, it wasn’t until I was 19 years old that I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in fashion.
CE: What made you decide to create accessories?
AOT: I believe accessories can give us a sense of freedom to express ourselves and we all should be able to experience such freedom.
CE: Why did you decide to embark upon stationary?
AOT: As a business woman, I believe stationary is essential for the day to day running of any business and also our daily lives. I was extremely tired of the same old boring planners every year so I decided to offer stationary that can connect with each individual to show their own unique identity. To give them a sense of hope, determination and to feel somewhat excited knowing you have something that represents who you are.
CE: What made you decide to use cork as a material for your purses and stationary items?
AOT: When I found out about all the amazing qualities of cork there was no way I wasn't going to use it to make my bags. Most importantly, it being a sustainable and eco-friendly material was my no.1 reason. Having other characteristics such as lightness; softness; durability; impermeable; flexibility; hypoallergenic; and water, dust and dirt resistant are just icing on the cake.
CE: What is your favorite part about being an accessories designer?
AOT: I simply love being able to express myself through my work. Being able to draw inspiration from different cultures and experiences and turning it into something that helps persons connect is just awesome.
CE: Most entrepreneurs make rookie mistakes when they first launch their companies, did you make any and which one stand out the most?
AOT: I would probably have to say trying to please everyone. lol
CE: What do you do or where do you go to get inspired?
AOT: Oh my! Inspiration is literally everywhere. The streets, different cultures, movies, magazines, everywhere. It's just out there, everywhere. lol
CE: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
AOT: To not be so hard on myself.
CE: What is the best advice you received and who gave it to you?
AOT: I hope my mom doesn’t see this. lol. I would have to say my dad. He always told me to believe in myself. Do the necessary work needed, trust God and believe in myself. It wouldn’t be easy but the harder it is the greater the result.
CE: What role do you think social media plays in the fashion industry?
AOT: In the fashion world, social media has brought connectedness, innovation and diversity to the industry. Social media has done a number of incredibly things for the fashion industry including, creating fashion icons, heavily influencing fashion trends and ultimately reforming the way people go about seeking jobs in the field.
CE: What advice would you give to young designers?
AOT: Know what you want and make a plan to get it. Lay out your goals, short and long term and work hard to make them happen. Work hard, take time and learn your craft, keep learning, push outside your comfort zones and do not wait around and expect an opportunity to come to you. Make one.
CE: What pitfalls would you tell them to avoid?
AOT: Not designing with production in mind, not having a target customer, not understanding your customer, not having a strong unique selling proposition and believing that you know everything. You don't.
CE: Five years from now where do to see your brand?
AOT: In five years I would love to see my brand internationally being worn by persons who are confident, caring, adventurous, luxurious, and elegant.
CE: How are you able to outdo yourself collection after collection?
AOT: I never stop working and constantly think of ways to improve while trusting God to guide me.
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