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Our first look at Khopa Bui

Mengqi Lei @ 2019-06-11 15:52:50 -0400

Some people love travelling. Others might love cars, makeup, or playing golf.

For me, it was always handbags. It started when I was seventeen - after saving up for an entire summer, I finally bit the bullet on a Chloe mini bag in white lambskin.

Needless to say, young Jenny was terrified to wear it and never set it on the floor. I later learned the hard way how easily dark denim transfers color onto delicate white leather (shocker)!

The bag found home on my wardrobe shelf, but I still felt intoxicated every time I scrutinized the flawless stitching and rubbed the supple leather between my fingers. I loved the heavy gold hardware, the satisfying snap of the magnetic closure, and most of all, I loved how special it made me feel.

I even kept the packaging, because it reminded me of the exhilaration of unboxing the exquisitely handmade item. Carefully unwrapping the tissue paper, lifting the bag from its plush dustbag, and inhaling the new bag smell was almost as exciting as the item itself.

I was hooked. From then on, I celebrated each birthday by treating myself to a handbag, and had accumulated a small but meaningful collection (of dark colored bags) by the time I was 23.

The evolution in my taste was evident – from earlier choices of logo-plastered mini bags to my latest larger tote styles with comfortable straps and functional interiors that were suitable for work. I began to appreciate sturdier materials, thoughtful interiors,

My expectations as a consumer also changed. Beyond the handbag itself, I wanted to understand the conditions under which the bag was produced – and was met with unsatisfying, vague paragraphs about craftsmanship. I paid for, and expected good customer service -  but was refused service when one of the zippers on my shoulder bag broke.

I began to outgrow my enchantment in designer bags. I realized these large conglomerates did not value me as a customer and I grew reluctant to pay extortionate prices for the designer name, opaque business practices, and subpar service. I wanted beautiful, professional, functional designer-quality handbags at an attainable price, and I wanted to know where and how my bag was made.

Unable to find any, I decided to launch my own line of handbags for all the women who felt the same way. I had a vision of classic, functional bags in muted colorways, made with the finest leather.

The disillusionment of the reality of the leather industry slapped me in the face. Unlike what we’re lead to believe, leather often is not a  “by-product” of the meat industry - instead, animals are farmed and killed exclusively for their hide. Transforming an animal corpse into a treated leather also requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals and energy, and produces hazardous waste that poisons the workers, land, and rivers around it.

Leather isn’t glamorous by any stretch of the imagination, and my handbag habit was killing animals, people, and the planet. Our clothing choices make a statement about who we are, and I was supporting industries and practices that I didn’t believe in. No experience was worth this kind of animal cruelty, disregard for workers, and environmental destruction.

That’s the inspiration behind freja. We create luxurious, timeless bags designed for the woman who refuses to compromise her values, and we make them with a conscience. freja means love, and that’s the mission behind everything we do. We don’t use any animal or petroleum based materials, and only work with ethical factories.

We’re redefining luxury, by showing you who, where, and how your bag was crafted. We’re pushing innovation by using a premium ultra-fiber material that’s more resilient than leather, uses a fraction of the energy to produce, with none of the nasty chemicals. We’re pricing our products fairly, because every woman deserves to own a handbag that makes her feel special.

Handbags are the one item that accompany women through every moment of their life - and I wanted to make one I would be proud to carry.

Beautiful, sustainably made handbags. Now that’s something worth treating yourself to.