Svala is a line of luxury, vegan, handbags that are handcrafted in LA from premium, innovative, animal-friendly, PVC-free fabrics such as luxurious, Italian vegan leather, Pinatex® (made from pineapple leaf fiber) and cork. Each Svala handbag is lined with fabric made with organic cotton and recycled polyester made with plastic bottles.
Svala is available exclusively on our website svala.co so we can offer ethically and sustainably made products, handcrafted with the highest-quality, innovative and luxurious fabrics, without the traditional retail mark-up.
I stay motivated by… focusing on the things that I am passionate about and spending time with family and friends.
Three adjectives that describe me are… active, adventurous and dedicated.
If I could have dinner with one person it would be… Jane Goodall because she is a true visionary who changed the way we look at the animal kingdom and the world at large. I admire her passion and integrity and commitment to protecting all living things and the planet.
The most exciting innovation to me is… beautiful plant-based sustainable fabrics, made from food waste.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Is having your own business something you always wanted?
I was always interested in having my own business and when I had the idea for Svala I decided to take the plunge. At first, I was intimidated by the logistics of starting a business on my own and wasn’t sure how to go about it. But eventually my desire to create animal-friendly products took over and forced me to figure it out! I believe that starting a business is always easier when you are working on something that you are really passionate about.
How did you come up with your business idea? What inspired you?
I founded Svala as I was constantly searching for animal-friendly, sustainable fashion and was unable to find exactly what I was looking for. I was inspired by the idea of creating stylish and functional luxury handbags and accessories made from cruelty-free, sustainable fabrics and sharing them with others.
The inspiration for Svala’s name comes from Iceland, where my mother is from. Svala, means swallow in Icelandic and this bird is a symbol of love, loyalty, freedom and hope in many cultures - everything that I wanted my brand to stand for. Svala is inspired by my love of animals and nature and the relaxed, colorful feel of Sydney (where I grew up) and Los Angeles (where I currently live) as well as the simplicity and elegance of Scandinavian design.
How do you generate new ideas to stay relevant on the market? Is it important to innovate in your space?
I am constantly looking for and researching new vegan fabrics to work with. I visit fabric trade shows, sustainable fashion events and research on the internet to find the latest innovations. My friends and family have been very helpful by sending me info on interesting vegan fabrics they come across. I also pay attention to what our customers are looking for and how I can fill their needs. The next two styles we are releasing this year are based on requests from our customers!
It is very important to me to keep innovating and collaborating with other companies that are leading the way in the creation of sustainable, vegan fabrics such as Piñatex®. Piñatex® fibres are the by-product of the pineapple harvest and no extra land, water, fertilizer or pesticides are required to produce the raw material. It is very exciting to be able to work with such innovative fabrics and I look forward to expanding our plant-based fabrics collection.
What is your biggest dream? Why? Describe your biggest vision for your business.
My dream for Svala is to continue to expand my line of vegan handbags and accessories, incorporating the most exciting and sustainable fabrics available, and expanding the charitable side of my business. Currently, Svala donates a percentage of our profits to various animal and environment related charities and organizations including Wild Aid, whose mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. We also participate in a carbon offset program to reduce our carbon footprint.
My biggest dream for Svala is to grow my business and be able to expand our charitable contributions and our carbon offset program to fund more projects such as planting trees and generating alternative energy from wind, solar and water.