If you recognize this purse, it’s because it was voted #7 in the Handmade Top 10 Bags and Purses. Pretty impressive, huh? Well, it’s especially impressive when you take into account that there were 175 other bags and a total of 70,667 votes were cast. So why didn’t I choose number one from that list? I just like Michelle Chan’s purse better! (Michelle is a store owner that I contacted directly!)
What I found most intriguing about Michelle is that she is actually an engineer-turned-purse-maker! You go, girl! After all, it’s not the dreamers that succeed; it’s the dream-pursuers!
I know that not only will you enjoy Michelle’s creations, but you’ll enjoy learning about Michelle, too!
Do you prefer Dubai over Hong Kong?
I am Chinese, so naturally Hong Kong has everything that I am familiar with. Hong Kong is also the city where I spent a good part of my youth growing up in, so this connection can never be erased from me. Having said that, Hong Kong is a beautiful but crowded city, not without its own problems. Living in Dubai is more relaxed, while it is still a city large enough that you can still have everything you need, but it never felt "home" as I would be in Hong Kong.
Do you have any special family traditions that you now celebrate in your own home?
We do celebrate a few of the Chinese festivals here. For example on the morning of the Chinese New Year we would make an early new year call to our families. We do not have as much celebrations as other cities with a huge Chinese population (like New York) but as an individual family we strife to do as much as possible to keep our traditions and maintain our root to the homeland.
How many purses do you own?
Apart from the ones I make, not so much, really. Since I started making purses and selling them as a business, it felt different walking into a boutique. I would look for inspirations of my work in their style, the fabrics used, and the pricing. My head would be so full of thoughts that my desire to own them is completely suppressed. They became the positive balance on my husband's account, which is not a bad thing =)
Do you sell your work locally?
I am a member of a local artisan group (Artisan of the Emirates, or ARTE) that organizes craft markets regularly. I join their market a few times a year to sell and to promote my Etsy shop. I am also in touch with a local boutique, trying to sell through them.
Are you working on new designs or are you going to focus on expanding your color palette in your current design series?
I browse the web regularly for new interesting fabrics and clutches to use in my products. But I am also trying to add a local twist and make use of some material that can only be found in the region. Arabic women use a lot of gold and silver embroidery laces, and they can be incorporated to make a stylish kisslock purse. On the other hand I am also looking to expand my clutch purse Zoo series and design a few more purses that resemble other cute animals!
I just love her little birdie mini clutch! (She has an elephant, too!) And when I saw that it was named "Gigi", I formed a little bond with it. My own little birdie’s name is Gigi. But she’s more like a monkey! We just celebrated her fourth birthday! Who knew I was going to give birth to a diva? Being the proud mom I am, here are some pictures I took of her with the first bloom of a beautiful East Texas spring.
If I've got my time zones correct, Michelle should be waking up about now, while I'm getting ready to bed down for the night. (Before 2 a.m.!) So good morning, Michelle! May you make the most out of this day as you have so many others! Keep up the excellent crafting and your photography kicks major butt!