on amazon.

This photo was taken last month, during a sunny Saturday spent hiking in the fields. Around 100 cows and sheep, accompanied by their shepherd, paused to nibble on the leaves from nearby shrubs, the jingle-jangle of their cowbells creating a melodic dissonance.

Jingle Bells.

The sun still shines, often and intensely. At night, the city lights up like a circus, post-work crowds dashing about in pursuit of holiday gifts or a Yuletide feeling.

What do you think about Amazon? Do you have strong feelings for or against it? I did some of my Christmas shopping on there. While waiting for the package to arrive, I began seeing some front-page articles advocating shopping elsewhere. This year, I completed orders for three items on Amazon: a lovely book on creativity, some shoelaces, and aforementioned gift. Had the shopkeeper given me a precise restock date for the latter, I would have bought it in the physical, nearby store where I had first seen it. I also placed three orders on Amazon in 2017, and two in 2016.

From this scant record, I think I am not a prime Amazon user, and that subscription to Prime would be lost on me. Although a writer of one of the articles started off with two or three Amazon orders a year, he noted that he had made 119 orders so far in 2018, his third year as a Prime user.

Here are some of the benefits of Amazon that I see. Amazon is a good one-stop aggregator of products, backed by a strong search engine. More often than not, you will find what you’re looking for on there, with the range of styles and prices presented to you in a no-frills, one-page format. For those who like Netflix and movies on demand, Amazon is now a strong player in that sphere, too. With Prime, shipping is cheaper, or free. As an aside, last year, when I introduced free global shipping to our own operations, it was in keeping with the New Way Amazon has introduced to e-commerce. It is now reasonable to hold the expectation of free shipping. Amazon is reliable. Items also seldom remain listed if they are out of stock. Returns processing follows a reliable and straightforward process. For new products, a date-specific pre-order option is usually available. A responder to one of the articles noted how much easier it made her life, as a person with a disability.

For those on the sidelines, especially those in e-commerce, it is good to note some of these characteristics, and to note which ones are worthy of emulation.

If something about the ethos of a company, etc, bothers you, research it to learn more about how that ethos affects you as a consumer or patron. If you can’t live with it, find alternatives. Or go without that good or service, entirely. It has been nice to read articles on why people are thinking of ending their Prime subscription. So if you have a platform, I think it’s a good idea to use it to express your views, and in the process, educate others (like me) on the pros and cons of continued patronage.

Update: I felt it necessary to include this update on Amazon Prime members’ recent reservations about the service, namely, that Prime 2-day shipping is now too often 5-7 day shipping. Also, that even with Prime membership, not all items are eligible for 2-day shipping, leading Prime members to comb through product listings to find the ones that are Prime-eligible. Here is a Fast Company article (19 Dec. 2018) that details these reservations, along with links to other users with the same issues, on Reddit and Quora.

On the Amazon logistics side, the challenge lies in the reality that human beings are still the ones doing much of the order fulfilment in Amazon warehouses, driving the delivery trucks, etc. One Redditor noted that the slowdown was more noticeable once AMZL, which I think is Amazon’s fulfilment arm to rival USPS, DHL, etc, was launched. And the quandary of people wanting their items delivered fast, sigh, particularly when they pay $119 a year for shipping.

One thing the article highlighted is the importance of stating when the 2-day count begins for shipping. Does it include processing times, or is processing time an 8-day add-on? Customers like to know this, and it is within their rights to. I hadn’t thought I would find logistics interesting, but it is such a vital part of customer satisfaction that I find myself giving it more and more of a thought as my company, Minku, advances.

El Celler de Can Roca – all the food that’s fit to eat

“Did we really just eat for four hours?” I asked, as we polished off the last of four dessert dishes, an arrangement of distinctly-flavored chocolate strips leading to a neat heap of crispy chocolate crumble.

An eruption of giggles. It was a giggly experience. From the amuse-bouches that kept coming four courses in — “our bouches are duly amused,” one of us observed; to the waitress who began to say with a giggly, giddy urgency, how hot the soup bowl she had started to serve us from, was. Helped by her colleague, she hurriedly found the side-table on which to place the soup bowl, but the theatrics of it all, combined with the fun of dressing up for the dinner, still had us in giggles for a full minute after.

Three brothers: one specialized in breads (the wine bread was my favorite, suave in taste in fine contrast to the indulgent flavors of our sixth-of-a-day long epicurean experience) but also in sweets and confectionery, served from a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-style candy cart that rolled towards us as the waiters rounded up the last of our plates. The second brother a sommelier, and the third, head chef.

Office of the Roca brothers. Squint to see a photo of them on the left. Mexican sake ‘Nami’, to the right.

Psychedelic. Magic mountains of white asparagus heads emerged vertically from a lake of asparagus-loaded garum sauce, dotted with pickled, yes, asparagus. A smack in the mouth with all the ways asparagus could be, beyond your wildest dreams. All served on the same plate.

In an earlier course, miniature bonsai trees required that we picked olives off them to eat: the green ‘olives’, cold and sweet, were olive-flavored ice-cream; the brown ones, hot and savory, were a black-olive tempura-shelled tapenade (!) It was like Alice in Wonderland, with the scale a bit off (olive trees that fit on dinner tables), cutlery irregularly curled, and the paradox of choice – black olive hot; green olive cold, both options consumed in the end.

Excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

The most surreal experience of all was our repeated underestimation of the capacities of our bellies. Each time we thought we couldn’t possibly fit any more food, our dishes would be cleared, next wine introduced and served, plates and cutlery placed, introductory spiel to new dish given, and there we would be, relishing it like it was the first course of the evening. This was the case particularly with the desserts.

Our worlds collided. At least four of us at our table of eight were fans of the 90s Jim Henson show, The Dinosaurs, and a dessert of liquefied cucumber, cardamom, apple, fennel, and eucalyptus came accompanied with dinosaur-stemmed silverware. The silverware broke all rules of usability, but only if your understanding of silverware is simply ‘tools to eat with’. For us, they contributed to some of the most resonant giggles of the evening. Not only did we find a home for them on the strategically placed rocks that served as table centerpieces, but our dinosaurs formed partnerships and communities, traveling across the table and along their partners’ backs, before being picked up by their chubby sculpted stems to tackle our desserts. “I don’t use my juicy salif to juice lemons,” star designer Philippe Starck once quipped of his lemon juicer design, “I use it to start conversations.”

What one wouldn’t give to be a fly on the tablecloth during a dinner at Celler de Can Roca, a gastronomic experience designed to maximize delight, hearty mealtime conversation, and giggles.

crouching tiger; hidden dragon. Or maybe just dinosaurs.

Thanks to Anna for the pictures of the food. So busy was I eating that I forgot to document some of my favorite dishes. Like the magic asparagus mountains that ensure I’ll never look at asparagus the same way again.

Optimizing for empathy in design – Part II

In the previous post, I wrote about the different ways I optimize for empathy in design. It was easy to apply these, seeing as I was designing for someone I know. What about when designing for someone I have never met, and had only interacted with over the internet?

As if to test my pontificating, such a scenario presented itself over the holidays. I received an order for a bag I had made, and mailed it. I imagined it was a gift for a guy, as

  1. The order had been placed through a male name
  2. I had just created a ‘For men’ section and was eager to convince myself it was already taking off
  3. The bag was a unisex design.

I received a gracious email saying that the writer’s dear husband had purchased her the bag as a Christmas gift, but that the strap was too short for her.

I think that one of the advantages of making bags is that unlike shoes, they are often one size fits all. For everything else, a strap adjuster is usually a good solution. The thing is that

  1. Sometimes, from an aesthetic point of view, a strap adjuster introduces at least two additional metal components, that can sometimes remove from the aesthetics I had in mind.
  2. A shoulder bag is usually fine. However, I had listed this as a cross-body bag, and for fuller-bodied people, what this means is that the bag strap has to be long enough to cover some of the width of their shoulders, lateral rib-cage, and chest/bust. So it almost becomes like clothing, where bust measurements, shoulder measurements, etc come into play. I hadn’t thought of this as I placed the listing under the cross-body category. I am now more careful to only place bags with ample-length and an adjustable strap in this category.

I thought that this would be a good opportunity to put some empathic design into play. It was after the holidays and I could make out time to create a bag that the client would be happy to wear. Also, unlike scenarios where the client places an order and I mail it in and communicate thanks via email, I had had a bit more communication with this client. Many of the people who order from Minku have this warmth about them. Sometimes I have to send customer care emails for situations like when someone is personalizing a gift, or when items would take longer to mail out, because I need x number of days to make their custom order. I receive the warmest and most patient of email responses. It makes this job really fulfilling, partly because I know I can relax and do a good job. I also work very well under pressure, but I try to avoid it, as I am lucky enough to be the person I report to.

For step one of making a bag that the client would like, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind sending me a picture of some of the bags she owned, just maybe two or three of them placed together. I told her this would give me an idea of her bag taste, and help me come up with something for her. At first I received no response, and I thought this was expected, because who really wants to get that intimate with someone she doesn’t really know? There might be an element of it that seems to say show me your style and I’ll judge you and make you something I think suits you, and I had to be proper with the wording, to remove the slightest misread sense of judgement. However, I found it important to request this information, because I needed more than a blank slate to work with.

When the returned bag arrived, we had the touchpoint of conversing again, and I asked again, just in a no-fuss way: if you can send me a photo of two or three bags, then I’ll get an idea and can work with more direction. If you don’t feel comfortable sending it, this is totally fine, and I’ll make a bag with the strap of the length we already discussed, and mail it by x date to avoid delaying this.

She sent me the photo the same day, explaining that the challenge had been deciding which of the bags to send me a photo of. It was really cool to receive the photo, because I knew almost immediately which of the styles I had been ruminating over, to make for her. I hadn’t tried padded quilting before, but I really wanted to. Even though none of the bags in the photo she sent to me had padded quilting, I felt that this was my chance to  give it a try, to achieve the more structured style of bag she seemed to lean towards. Also, leather quilting is really pretty, and I wanted the challenge.

I sent her a photo of the bag, and I received the best email, saying how much she loved it. I have to say that I feel I also got lucky, because it is not like I am suddenly a mind reader or a photo reader. It is a combination of having a gracious client and working to understand people’s taste and translate it into something that, though different, they will still like.

The bag arrived about a week earlier than I had expected, and I got the best email from her.

First, spirit animal – whenever I’m stoked about something, I think that I would cry. And sometimes, when I am telling someone that their gesture/gift/words made me want to cry, I can see the look on their faces like, “no, that’s not what I was going for” but I still use the expression anyway because it’s how I feel :) So it was nice to see the client use the same expression. I totally understood the feeling she was trying to convey.

So I felt like it was a successful interaction. The thing about this work is that the emphasis has to be that I want to make bags that people want to wear. On average, people have tens of bags, so it would be unrealistic to think that wearing one bag every day for two years will be a mark of success. However, the thought of switching to the bag should delight them, like yay I can’t wait to switch my things into this Minku bag, with its glorious aso-oke interior and how the contents of my bag hit the light differently; its comfortable strap, the artisan details, the form of the bag, and all the compliments I will get.

For me, that is the dream. And it made this unplanned empathic design experience 100% worth it.

Love,
Minku

A different photo shoot than the ones I usually do.

This has been a pretty amazing week, with trips to get fabric for work, attendance of social media week lagos events, and a photo shoot that I had been conceiving in my mind’s eye for months.

It’s hard to know how everything would come together: this top, those pants, that hairstyle, those ad-hoc aso-oke earrings, that backdrop, this camera lens versus that one… until you’re there, on set, just click-click-clicking.


Akor, the model brought it. This was a different photo shoot than the ones I usually do, because it was as much about the clothes as the bags. A Minku bag and clothing collection. I can’t wait to present the full lookbook. These are some grainy shots of the camera viewer, because I couldn’t really wait to say, “here, dear Minku loyalist, is a sneak peek before everyone else gets to know, of what you can expect to see on the Minku social media pages, web site, and hopefully some press, in the time to come.” So I hope you’re liking it all as much as I am.

Model: Akor
Photographer: Kunmi

Listening to the Cut the Rope mobile game soundtrack.


Getting some much-deserved yoghurt (Akor) and vanilla ice-cream (me) on our return from the photo shoot site. When I was a kid, the best part of church was after-church when my parents would buy my siblings and I these ice-creams from the ice-cream bicycle man. It was always a bummer when our favorite flavor was sold out. Still is.

 

MMXVI: The Year of Verstappen

2016 is the Year of Max Verstappen.

He’s the man whose headstrong defensive drives we grew to dislike, yet whose aggressive overtakes had us singing his praises… all in the span of five races.

He won’t let you overtake him; yet he won’t let you not let him overtake you.

Fearless at 300km/hr (not cool, bro) as he is on a dripping wet circuit (dude, he’s like Hamilton… or Senna!), he’s at his best when he’s aggressor trying to overtake, not so much as rookie karter vacillating on the track to ensure you don’t get past him.

The FIA rules on changing direction under braking were changed only last month thanks to Verstappen and his defensive maneuvering, and definitely to cheers from other drivers. Yet guess who got caught in the FIA’s net the very next race after the rule change? You’ll be forgiven for thinking it was Max if you can’t tell your Vettels from your Verstappens.

This guy’s drives, man. After yesterday’s race, you saw him smile. It was that full-faced smize, the likes of which I haven’t seen since Vettel took second place in Canada, you know, the race where he (Vettel) had swerved to avoid the suicidal seagulls and all. Not one to jump, faux-levitate, fist-pump, DAB, or do a Tebow like one of the other nimbler-limbed drivers, Verstappen wears his mood 95% in his face and 5% in his intonation. Often this season, his expression was smug, sullen, tightened, unwelcoming. After the Brazilian GP on the Interlagos Circuit yesterday, that is to say, after he out-strategized Perez, Sainz, an increasingly whiny Vettel… and even Rosberg in that brief moment before his team called over the radio to piss on his parade — often by overtaking around the outside of the track, a part F1 drivers would normally avoid for its wetness and low grip but which Verstappen was bold enough to exploit successfully thanks to negative wheel camber keeping it dryer and with better grip than other drivers dared to imagine — he had that full-faced, I-woke-up-like-this, daddy-Jos-can-you-see-how-I’m-making-you-proud? smile. And this time, the world was full-on smiling with him.

There’s an episode of Mad Men where Don Draper says, “If you don’t like what they’re saying about you, change the conversation.” Verstappen is the best manager of his own image, and the way he has made us go from hating his driving style to admiring his gut, sheer force of will, and gosh, amazing driving talent, all in the span of the 2016 Formula 1 Championship season, is something that should make it to the case study blurbs of business texts for years to come.

NOTES:

  • Apparently I need to watch more karting because Verstappen, the straight-from-karting-to-F1 kid, is pulling some hot karting overtaking moves that us who like F1 would do well to get schooled on.
  • Hamilton, man. I’m so used to his amazing drives that what he did in leading this utterly wet-track race from start to finish (at times up to 8 full seconds ahead of the driver behind him) might not be getting all the laudatory glory it truly deserves.
  • Still on Hamilton, his first win in Brazil, Si Señor! And his 52nd F1 win, now sandwiching him between Schumacher and Alain Prost as the driver with the second most F1 wins of all time :-D Proud gal shimmy.
  • RED BULL. Guys, time and again, your pit stop strategy sucks. Who are the strategists for Ricciardo and Verstappen? How does anyone really think that when a Red Bull successfully comes between the two Mercedes is a good time to pit for sissy things like a tyre switch from wets to intermediates? Especially on a wet track with a high likelihood that some aquaplaning car or the other would have the safety car rolling out sooner or later (and you can capitalize on a free pit stop)? Also, was a simple weather forecast for more rain not available to these guys? It’s becoming laughable how often they deprive their drivers of a good fighting chance for a higher podium finish; and in the process, deprive us viewers of what could be some seat-edge racing in a season monopolized by Mercedes 1-2’s.
  • A three-and-a-half hour race, God, I must love F1.
  • Red Bull gives you wings.

A race in the wet

Trust the Silverstone circuit to deliver a race in the wet. It wasn’t actively raining, so most drivers switched from wets to intermediate tyres early in the race, and as the track dried, to mediums. All the same, the wet track reminded me of one of my favourite quotes in the 2010 movie Senna: “Then his favourite thing happened. It began to rain.”

The most exciting thing about this race was the tussle between Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen. And if you’d been following these two since their Ferrari days, Massa (now driving for Williams) and Alonso (now at McLaren Honda) were interesting to watch midgrid as well.

As a driver who has had 15 race wins, 11 pole starts and who finished 2nd in the 2008 Drivers’ Championship, Massa is one of the really good drivers out there right now. The way he fended off Alonso’s overtake attempts during Sunday’s British GP only served to reinforce this idea.

Sunday was a day of back-to-back sports watching: F1, and then the Wimbledon men’s finals (congratulations Andy Murray and of course SERENA WILLIAMS :-D), and at night, the UEFA Euro Championship finals. What a great day.

Best part of the British GP: Hamilton’s crowdsurf at the end. You earned it, mate.

Confetti tyres and detach-y front wings

If you wanted a clue about the unpredictability with which the 2016 Austrian GP was about to unfold, you needed to look no further than the array of tyres on which the different teams started their drivers. What would normally be an even split between, say, softs and supersofts, or intermediates and wets, was a colorful mix of softs, supersofts, and the newly-introduced ultrasofts in the Pirelli F1 range.

RACE DAY – The race started off decently enough, with no surprises (Rosberg quickly overtaking his way up to 4th place from 7th; the uncharacteristically front-of-grid Force India of Hulkenberg going down some places in the first few laps). So let’s fast forward to where all the excitement happened: Lap 71/71! It was like watching a football match where an equalizer and a winning goal happen in the 89th minute. I was already writing off the race, saying in my head that it would be another Mercedes 1-2, with a happy (very happy) Verstappen as third. Vettel, who had been in third place until about the 26th lap, had seen his right rear tyre ceremoniously explode and shear, leaving huge marbles and rubber debris scattered on the racetrack (and stuck under Rosberg’s chassis!); and his SF16-T immobilized until the safety car was deployed and the car towed away. He retains third place in the championship, so this DNF hopefully doesn’t affect his championship placement much.

What it did affect, however, was the tyre strategy confidence of the other teams. Their radios were suddenly abuzz, and those whose race plan had entailed seeing how far those ultrasofts could take them, were now second-guessing, in part to benefit from a deployed safety car. Whether it is the tyre manufacturer or the team’s strategy that is to blame, it is not very sexy to see the live and then replayed footage of your team’s car bouncing about the track, its tyre unfurling like a roll of confetti or a party whistle, its driver’s gloved hands conveying the frustrated futility of trying to steer a car on three wheels. Ferrari may have the most recognizable livery in F1, but after it happened to them, no other team wanted an encore with its car. So it was pitstop after pitstop, changing the race strategy of many drivers (including Hamilton; when he changed his tyres around lap 21, it was with the intent of having them last the whole race, knowing that his teammate would still lose time pitting. But then he had a tyre change again around lap 50). Hamilton’s pit stops, though. They were long and clumsy. I had thought that Nico’s would be long because the  Sky commentator had said he still had debris from Seb’s car stuck under his chassis. Yet it was art.

Well, the good thing that came out of Lewis’ late tyre change (to softs, against Nico’s faster-wearing yet better-grip supersofts, as we would see in much-replayed footage of their final-lap tussle, later), was that it emboldened him to take on Nico later. Luckily for him, the Red Bull Ring seems to have ample opportunities for overtaking. It’s also a short track (2.3mi), so if you miss this chance to overtake at Turn 2, say, well, in a minute or so (assuming ~200 miles per hour), the chance would present itself again.

Still, man, what a bold move. These two Mercedes drivers are not beyond taking each other out, as they showed in Barcelona. So it was clear that were Hamilton to make a move to turn that 1-2 around in his favor, the chance of a DNF-DNF would be real. But no one could have predicted a 1-4. Especially not in Hamilton’s favor.


Toto Wolff said something about team orders, but I think the best way to enforce driver behavior will be to work on the drivers’ own rational minds. There is such a split-second of time for decision making when overtaking, that it won’t help to have your team barking or even cajoling orders at you simultaneously. I want to watch a race where the drivers aren’t ruthless but are rational even if it will cost them a place or two. Overtaking is fair game, and is indeed the whole point of motorsports. Blocking the driver’s car from returning to the track after an unsuccessful overtake attempt, doesn’t seem to be.

In the end, Rosberg’s front wing was stuck under his car, leading him to slow down to a lucky fourth place (lucky because had there been two laps left, all the other cars would have overtaken his). It reminded me of Verstappen’s front wing, lost during Friday’s practice. Kyvat’s, too. Nine races into the season, the drivers all seem to understand the capabilities and limitations of their respective engines. That their front wings are delicately attached and their tyres rapidly expendable, however, it seems they are still wrapping their heads around.

Do you know what week it is?

It’s Formula 1 week. Which happens every two weeks during Formula 1 season, except in August when the drivers have, gasp, the month off!

Formula 1 week means I have Formula 1 to look forward to on the weekend. Sometimes I study the circuit and learn a bit about it – the corners, presence or absence of hairpins, the descriptive terms the drivers use for it, and since F1 is so heavy on history and heritage, past notable events on that circuit.

Two weekends ago, we went to Belushi’s to see the first race ever to be held in Azerbaijan. During qualifying, I kid you not, a cat made its way onto the circuit. Yes, way to get squashed by cars doing 200mph. The cat was safe, but at first I thought the picture (it appeared on @F1’s instagram feed) was photoshopped. It wasn’t.

Did anyone see the interview with Hamilton after Canada? Vettel, super excited to have come in second, bombed Hamilton’s victor interview, saying in a very jovial manner that the reason he came second was that he’d slowed down for two suicidal seagulls that were on the race track and that didn’t budge as he approached. But that Hamilton hadn’t, lol. This resulted in search for the footage of the seagulls (I think it was on Sky Sports, not sure), but each time, Vettel was like, nope, not there, not that. And finally, there they were, two white specks on the track as his Ferrari sped towards them!

So, yeah, F1 is hilarious at times. And it’s great to see the drivers smiling and having a good time at it. There have been many good drivers joining in the past few seasons, like Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kyvat, or Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (who effectively blocked Rosberg from achieving any podium aspirations at Gilles-Villeneuve (Montreal GP), and was voted driver of the day for that race).

Oh, Toro Rosso means Red Bull in Italian by the way, go figure. Two teams sponsored by the same company — they also have some of the most beautiful livery I’ve seen. What is the car with the orange and blue livery? It is a very bold statement that happens in the middle to back of the track, and it’s quite beautiful to see.

I also wanted to mention that it was cool to see Force India’s Sergio Perez on podium in Baku. He was so happy, he couldn’t even hide it. In a sport dominated by European drivers and the occasional Brazilian, Perez was just too happy to be flying Mexico’s flag.

Love and chicanes,

Minku

Minku Fifth Anniversary Pop-up event in Lagos – pictures

Here are the pictures from the pop-up event held in Lagos on April 9, 2016. It was at Stranger, our stockist in Lagos. There isn’t much to say besides thank you to all the amazing people who came, saw, and interacted with the products. It felt like hosting a day-long interactive museum (see the pictures to understand what I mean), and as someone whose thesis work was the exploration of meaning-making via an interactive installation, that couldn’t make me any happier.MinkuPopUp5 MinkuPopUp4 MinkuPopUp3 MinkuPopUp2

Kayode (not pictured), Tunde (above), and I did the set up in the morning, while Kachi photographed us at work. She also created an 8-second video collage of the space (new window), that lets you get a 360 degree feel of it. I had this whole idea of hanging some bags from the ceiling, but in the end I was lazy and didn’t feel like climbing and reaching. I still did, but it was easier to hang bags off the wall than it was to hang them from the ceiling. I really wanted to incorporate the chairs, and Kayode and I finally devised a way to do so that fit with the flow of the rest of the exhibit, while beautifully showcasing our bracelets and notebooks.

MinkuPopUp8MinkuPopUp14Tunde could immediately see the essence of each bag, and devise how best to showcase that. By essence, I might simply mean interior. He knew that a black backpack is a black backpack until you flip it inside out, turn it upside down, and hang it by its straps like S&M gear, so people can see, feel, and interact with all the love that went into making it. Even something as little as flipping a buckle strap so people could see its aso-oke flip-side, made all the difference to how the work was communicated, and the exhibition enjoyed.

MinkuPopUp1 MinkuPopUp10 MinkuPopUp9aMinkuPopUp38 MinkuPopUp37 MinkuPopUp36If I had known that Simi was asking which notebook was my favourite one so she could buy it, I would have thrown her off the scent, he he :-)

MinkuPopUp35 MinkuPopUp34 MinkuPopUp33 MinkuPopUp32 MinkuPopUp31 MinkuPopUp30 MinkuPopUp29 MinkuPopUp28 MinkuPopUp27 MinkuPopUp26 MinkuPopUp25 MinkuPopUp24Here (center) is the amazing person that co-runs Stranger, the space that has been our stockist for a while now. He is wearing red instead of black because he knows that on show day, the designer wears black :-) Or maybe just a case of late laundry. But, really, he seldom wears colour.

MinkuPopUp23The MVP (most valuable product, winning product, star interactivity player…) may have been our notebooks. Prior to show day, we had them wrapped up in the store, with details on their inspiration and design on an information card that you can see if you squint at the bottom of the picture above. Unwrapping them on show day really helped get people to interact with the vegetable tanned leather, banana paper, bamboo, wood bark, and in some cases aso-oke that went into making each one. Needless to say, Stranger now stocks them unwrapped. We still wrap them upwhen we mail to you via our online store, but only because they make such great gifts.

MinkuPopUp22 MinkuPopUp21Each guest left with a box containing a cupcake (or two) that said Minku at five. They got to choose from three cupcake flavours, including red velvet and chocolate. A fun souvenir that showed up on more than a few Instagram feeds that evening.

MinkuPopUp20 MinkuPopUp19Uche and I are always entertaining eachother. A livelier friend, I think it is not possible to find :-) And she has a bag line now that is simply amazing.

MinkuPopUp18 MinkuPopUp17 MinkuPopUp16 MinkuPopUp15 MinkuPopUp13 MinkuPopUp12 MinkuPopUp11
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Our new catalogs were an integral part of the exhibit, and in some pictures, you can see guests flipping through them. There’s a flipshow of it on our instagram (new window). Still, feeling the evanescence of the decomposing leaf-collage exterior in your hands is the only way to truly experience it, and the cool news is that we mail one to our clients with each order.

MinkuPopUp40 Shop Minku online at minku.com. Some pictures made it to our instagram, but aren’t on here. I hope you check them out too.

The 6 best luxury shopping sites for men and women

There is a joy in seeing very pretty things showcased together, and a thrill in knowing you can choose to own any of them at the click of a button. Natalie Massenet’s Net-A-Porter showed us we didn’t have to go to a Dolce and Gabbana store window or the Prado Museum to feel that high — it could be delivered, via high-resolution images, multiple-angle shots, and smart copy, with a click of a button or the swipe of a finger. With the new-era Net-A-Porter seeming to focus on scale and lose a bit of its indie charm, here are six of the freshest curated luxury sites to visit now.

  1. Totokaelo: if the name hasn’t already convinced you that this Seattle-based e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar retailer is Japanese in its philosophy, the sparseness of its design will. Rachel Comey, Yohji Yamamoto, and Maison Martin Margiela aren’t big accounts that are stocked everywhere, but therein lies Totokaelo’s finesse. Influence: Japan.
  2. Matches Fashion: I love the matches. You love the matches. Everybody loves the matches. Lanvin, Loewe, Oscar de la Renta, Matches’ selections each season are the creme of the crop of some of the most artisanal designers, of which there aren’t many left. Influence: Western and Southern Europe.
  3. Minku: Speaking of artisanal designers, Minku has a small, artisanal e-commerce presence with a handmade feel. Were there a slow-food movement equivalent for clothing and accessories, Minku would be a firm member. Erring on the side of having too few merchandise items, what this Nigerian brand does have — leather bags, luggage, leather-bound journals, glass-bead bracelets, and densely-woven cotton clothing — awakens desire through attention to detail in both creation and presentation. Influence: Nigeria and the sub-Sahara.
  4. Browns Fashion: How such a small London boutique managed to catch the eye at Net-A-Porter/Colette levels is still a mystery. One guess is that it is down to the fearlessness of their buyers. It’s the brands you know, like Del Pozo, Balenciaga, Olympia Le-Tan and Dolce & Gabbana, but some of their most desirable pieces. Browns Fashion is currently owned by FarFetch, a fashion e-commerce site that aggregates third-party boutiques/brands to sell on its site so seamlessly, it would have made this list were its zero-inventory ‘marketplace’ model not so different from the other e-tailers on the list. Influence: UK, Southern Europe.
  5. Luisa Via Roma: The name is long, but if you remember the order of all its vowels, it delivers a pretty selection of items. Like with Net-A-Porter, you may have to filter through quite some stuff to get to the heartwarming items (case in point: 1,682 items in the Fashion Jewelry category alone), but they are there. Brands: Dolce and Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Chloe, Saint Laurent, Dries Van Noten, Bottega Veneta. Influence: Western Europe.
  6. Kuznetsky Most-20: Named for its address in Moscow’s upscale Kuznetsky Most (Blacksmith’s Bridge) street, this online destination stocks all the cool-kid brands from the USA and Europe, as well as some of Russia’s finest casual wear designers. The selection includes Ashish, Off-White, Heron Preston, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Cav Emt, and Yeezy. Hip hop culture is alive and thriving beautifully in Moscow. Influence: USA, Russia.

Have we missed some of your favorite inspirations for a wine o’clock merch browse? Include them in the comments!

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Addressing the Commonwealth’s Virtual Currencies Working Group

Last week, I visited London to address the Virtual Currencies Working Group of the Commonwealth on bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Digital currencies are interesting to me because they are new and infused with potential. Here you can see a press release issued by the Commonwealth Secretariat on this meeting and its outcomes. I was quoted in the concluding paragraphs, and a picture of me hand-stitching the finishing of an Afefe bag was used as the cover photo for the story. There was much more going on at the three-day meetings than a handful of startups and companies declaring the awesomeness of digital currencies and the blockchain; the working group was convened to form legislative guidelines for digital currencies to gain legitimacy in the many Commonwealth countries that are still on the fence/mute on the topic.

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Saffiano leather – yay or nay?

I love leather. The smell, the lustre, the suppleness of it, the irregular way it absorbs dye. Most of all, the way it feels to the touch.

As someone dedicated to the crafting of leather bags, the decision of why leather X over leather Y is one I make as often as a painter mixes pigments. Generally, those decisions have been guided by the above: leather feel, suppleness, smell, and look.

Which brings us to types of leather commonly used for bag making.

  1. Vegetable-tanned leather, tanned/dyed using plant-based dyes, can be expected to darken over time where it is touched the most, and generally just show use in an organic ‘aging’ manner that many of us associate with heirloom leather pieces. It is also usually the most expensive, because vegetable tanning is so time-intensive. The straps of some bags (Louis Vuitton’s Neverfull, etc) are made using vegetable-tanned leather.
  2. Chrome-tanned leather is tanned using chromium sulphate and some other chrome-based salts. It doesn’t discolor to the touch as easily as vegetable-tanned leather. Chrome tanning can be done relatively faster and in larger batches.
  3. Saffiano leather. Then there is Saffiano. It is leather that is not dyed, but coated over (in purple, blue, tan, or whatever color your bag comes in), with an opaque resin layer with a cross-hatch textured finish. So, even if the underlying leather is a pale cream color, you don’t see it unless the coating scratches off over time, which it tends to do on the corners that brush against hard surfaces. While Saffiano may have a synthetic-looking finish, it has the advantage of making the bag durable against elements like water, skin contact, and the sun (vegetable-tanned leather darkens gradually with exposure to these; chrome-tanned leather, much less so).

Saffiano doesn’t care about what tanning process is used, because you don’t get to see the leather — you only see the opaque cross-hatch coating applied over it.

Exclusively used by Prada for years, it has recently been used by other bag makers:  Michael Kors, DKNY, Tory Burch, and Coach. Longchamp is another bag maker increasingly using Saffiano for the leather bags in their line.

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A bag made using Saffiano leather

Saffiano leather preserves its look for a long time, due to its coated surface. Still, it doesn’t give much of the joy of owning something that is leather — yes, along with the care that goes into making it last.

The most similar thing to Saffiano leather in terms of its finish is patent leather. I made a bag using patent leather in Minku‘s early days. I couldn’t justify using it for a leather brand if 4 out of 5 people were going to ask me if it was real leather or plastic/vinyl (patent leather is coated in a glossy lacquer). Whether for Saffiano or patent leather, the coating has the side-effect of masking leather’s identifying properties like its soft smell and natural surface texture.

Many ladies have a combination of leather bags in their collection: from Saffiano to lusher feel-me-smell-me leathers. Unless the bag style is an incredibly unique must-have, I would not advise spending a lot on a Saffiano bag because unlike other leather finishes, you must imagine that the leather is there without seeing it, interacting with it, or smelling it.

 

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The Third Minku Pop-Up Store and Fashion Show

The pictures from the third Minku pop-up store, held in Lekki Phase I on November 2, 2014 had to come in monochrome because there was such a flurry of movement, print, and smiles. Yes, smiles are more vivid in black-and-white.

This was an amazing evening filled with music, food, drink, friends and family, creativity, and appreciation. The pop-up stores are becoming one way for me to reconnect with friends, family and readers that I might not see or meet otherwise.

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Thanks to everyone for coming! We’ll do this again, and then again, and then again, and again….

(P.S. Pictures from the first Minku Pop-up store can be seen in this post.)

Love,
Minku

Fadaka bags

In Yoruba class in secondary school, there were certain topics on the annual syllabus. There was phonology, where we were taught which parts of our mouths and vocal cords moved and touched to make the different sounds in the Yoruba language. There was history, where we learned things like the 7 sons of Oduduwa, father of the Yoruba language. I still have the memory-aid song I composed to remember Name – Town – Gift of each son, in my head. You could always be sure this would be on the exam fill-in-the-blanks style, so I made up a song to remember it, and taught it to many of my classmates: Olowu – Owu – aso; Alaketu – Ketu – ade; Oba – Benin – owo; Orangun – Ila – iyawo; Onipopo – Popo – ileke; Onifade – Fade – eran; Oranmiyan – Oyo – Ile. There were also orikis and proverbs.

Ahhh, proverbs. For the longest time while I lived in the States away from my folks, my mum’s voice would remind me of proverns in my head. Proverbs about hard work, about honesty, and about life in general.

I have a huge smile on my face just typing all this. I also want to share one basic Yoruba proverb with you: ‘Oruko rere san ju wura ati fadaka lo.’ This one came to mind because I was working on names for new bags, and I was thinking precious metals. Wura is gold and fadaka is silver. I am getting the names of more precious metals. In the meantime, I am happy to share with you, the Minku Fadaka bags:

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Anyone who has seen me in the past month would have seen me rocking my Fadaka bag — the one at the bottom. I enjoy carrying it. It’s a deep and practical holdall, and people love touching it and commenting on how soft the leather is, and playing with the fringes.

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Call this a pre-collection or a resort collection if you like; I thought it would be cool to keep on working and to keep on sharing with you what I am working on, instead of waiting for two seminal collections to land in your laps twice a year.

Not all of them have their straps sewn on yet. I am still working on that; it is not very interesting to sew straps :-) But if you would like one of the bags above, contact me with your preference and I can customize the strap: (a) a single adjustable strap so you can wear it as a shoulder bag or a cross-body bag; or (b) double straps so you can carry it as a tote bag. Otherwise, I would just start putting the straps on next week, however I see fit.

The special things about the Fadaka bags are: their shape, their versatility, their colours, the variety of interior linings (they also have a zipped inner pocket), their ease, and those sexy fringes. I can also tell you from handling mine for a month that they are super durable.

I would love to hear your favourites, and what you think of the bags. Look out for Part II of this post for the adventures of the all-new Minku Fadaka bags :-)

Love,

Minku

Yeah Mr. White, Science!

Years ago when I first got my camera and was contemplating what lenses to buy for this new toy, I stumbled on a post about home-made macro lens.

I finally tried it out today, after a discouraging trip to three camera stores to look at some macros.

Lens are so cool. I did dozens of experiments with them in Physics lab in high school, but today’s home experiment with my dslr and a steady hand totally had me channeling Jesse from Breaking Bad:

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The easiest explanation is that in reversing the lens’ direction, you reverse its effect. If it was giving you Sagrada Familia in a 2″ screen before, now it gives you ~1:1 close-up of the beads in your new men’s bracelet collection:

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It reminded me of when I was about 7 years old and, guided by the Basic Science book series my mum bought us (or maybe my sister Tosin’s science text book at the time), said sister and I made some homemade pinhole cameras. That was just one of our several home science experiments, where I was willing Jesse to her cerebral Mr. White. Even at that age, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who believed in experimentation as the best way to learn, and a smart way to get results.

I’ve been experimenting with Nigerian-made powdered-glass beads. This was a result of months of pondering what to do with the beads, made by local craftspeople in Nigeria. The picture above is a preview but I look forward to sharing the full collection with you and hearing your favourites.

Love,
Minku

Minku at 080 Barcelona Fashion Week – July 2014

Here are some highlights from Barcelona Fashion Week, which we took part in from June 30 to July 4, 2014.

As always, it was a lovely chance to unveil and share what I’ve been working on. For the Spring/Summer 2015 collection, N U D E has been the name of the game. Beiges, pale pinks, pastel shades, sweet-almond pinks, and some greys thrown in for good measure.

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This season, the Moba bag also gets reimagined in fresh summer pastels: a peach-hued python-patterned skin, highlighted on the sides with peach sheepskin panels. The bag is sophistication (not shown is its lining, done in a complementary damask that has a lovely family story to go with it). Sitting on the showcase table, the Moba bag already revealed its regal beauty. But then model Cristina struck a pose with me and the bag, and totally brought the bag to life:

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Minku is now on Instagram and on there, you can see some pictures that I didn’t include above. I would also try to get into the Insta-groove the best I can, so please follow so as not to miss out on updates via that avenue.

Love,
Minku

Sold out

They have sold out of our bags in the LaOrange shop. We delivered the bags a month ago.

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I am now working on the shop’s order for more, and taking into consideration the colours their customers particularly like. For example, one of their customers wants the light peach version (second, third and fourth pictured above) to wear to a wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. This is the colour that will match their outfit, so I am including it in the current batch of bags I’m making.

This has been the first time at Minku that we’ve had a shop place an order (not consignment). I am happy it is working well. I didn’t want to write this post because it seemed like #humblebrag but I think it is good to share also when things are going well.

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I am also squeezing out time to work on the SS2015 collection and all I can tell you is that I am excited about it. They might be a few bags, but I am placing a lot of care into the (1) design and (2) construction of each. What you can expect: Odd shapes that you have probably never seen before in a bag, and that will remind you of organic forms. Colour combinations that will make you drool. Aso-oke linings that will get your heart beating a little faster. Confident hand-stitching. Backpacks, heck yeah. And something in the men’s bag sphere too.

Here is a picture of the Minku + LaOrange official collaboration poster. Their stores are in San Sebastian and in Tolosa.

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Hoping you are having a good week, and that all your projects bring you satisfaction.

Love,
Minku

Happy New Year 2014

This past week

The past week has been amazing and interesting.

I am currently doing some production work. I went to work with a tailor today to sew some linings for the bags and it was an interesting experience. I was a bit sad to tell the truth, the guy was restless and kept throwing me ideas without listening to what I wanted to do. And just the way he was careless with the materials, throwing the thread, not caring that the oil he used to oil his machine stained the leather, the state of his fingernails… it was clear we might not be a happy working couple. It’s not that hard though, to just do a neat job. Is it? Or to instill confidence in people who come to your shop, by just approaching the work in a relaxed manner?

Today we’re on Tech Cabal, Venture Beat and Founders Grid. And yesterday I gave a talk to employees at Jobberman at their Speaker Series. I am very grateful for all these opportunities and beautiful things.

Ahhh I am working a lot though. But hearing me talk about how much work I am doing is not why you visit this blog, right? Ah well, too bad, and too late :-)

Love to you guys, thank you for your support and love always, and if you are in Barcelona next week, please come to El Born because we will be there at the pop-up stores in Barcelona Fashion Week.

Minku

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Happy New Year 2014

It’s the last day of 2013. I hope that as you reflect on the year, you find yourself finding reasons to be happy and to think it was a good year, but also that you have reasons to look forward to 2014.

Last weekend, my uncle came to visit. I have just one uncle from my dad’s side, and he and I have always been close. We watched me (meeee!!!!) doing an interview on Silverbird TV’s breakfast show (my uncle recorded the whole thing on his phone), and then my siblings and I headed to the beach with him, his wife, and my cousins.

My mum packed us some food, and when we got to the beach (at about 10 in the morning), we rented a bamboo hut for the day. We went horseback riding, ate, and napped. I taught my cousins how to use the digital SLR camera and they took some of the most fabulous of the picture selection below. We also danced; there’s always music on the beach in Lagos, and all my fave musicians now were covered: Olamide, Wande Coal, Wizkid…

It’s nice going to the beach in Nigeria because those huts are so convenient and help you stay out of the sub-Saharan sun!

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Happy New Year everyone.

love,
Minku

Viernes is Bag Day IX: Menswear!

Today I courageously ventured into menswear again. My previous attempts had been, on first try, NSFM. Not suitable for men. Cue too-narrow chest area, too-skinny pants, too-tight neckhole.

Ah well what the heck, I adjusted those in time for the pending photoshoot each time (thanks for your patience, Fra!), and now, with all my menswear mistakes behind me (:-P), I decided to give it another try.

I like menswear because little innovations mean a big deal. Womenswear, you have to choose whether you want to be master of cut, or master of detail, or embellishment maestro, or knitwear mistress. But menswear? Just do some asymmetric magic and you are Man of Kingswear King of Menswear. I am sure I am wrong, but what do I know?

I figured out that my dimensions (which I use to make most of the clothes in the limited Minku womenswear line) don’t quite work for men. Broader shoulders, they have. And longer arms. Narrower hips. Lower waists.

Today I made a long-sleeved hoodie. It’s extra-long long-sleeved. I used some lamé fabric for the drawstring. And some black stretch fabric left over from a dress I made before, for the hoodie lining.

It’s looking spiffy.

I tried it on at many points during its construction. It’s super-freaking-baggy.

Like it should be.

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I like comfortwear, but I won’t have guessed that I would make a baggy hoodie — which starts to venture into streetwear even. Streetwear with a sweet edge. I love polka dots, and shine.

This Minku thing is a journey and I look forward to continuing to surprise myself.

Minku hoodie made from jersey polka dot fabric (cotton, polyester and elastane mix) with lamé detailing and extra-long sleeves.

Viernes is Bag Day V: Pink Prunes Fagunwa Bag

On the old Minku ‘About’ page, I said that Minku is a brand inspired by love, friendship, travel and the sea. It’s true — I love all these things, not least travel. One of the unintended consequences of starting the brand is that the bags somehow seem to end up on the arms of ladies and gentlemen who love to travel. Thus I often get to see the world vicariously through them.

I’ve been singing IwannagotoMoroccoIwannagotoMorocco into the ears of whoever would listen, so it is only fitting that when a Minku bag goes to the oldest marketplace in the Arab world (see: Muttrah Souq), draped on the arm of a lovely Minku client and friend, it should get its very own post.

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Clemence visited the Minku atelier last summer, actually to see  me, but it was a chance to see in person, the bags she had heard and said so much about. On setting her eyes on the Pink Prune Fagunwa bag, she asked when I would complete it, and I casually answered, “when someone shows interest in buying it.”

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Some weeks later, the bag was on its way to Clemence’s door, lining completed with the pockets she had specified…

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and packaged thus:

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Today, Clem sent me this lovely note (below), and the picture of her sporting it stylishly in the Muttrah Souq to go with it. I love, love, love this particular Fagunwa bag — I would be lucky to find this joyous combination of leathers and fabric again, and it’s a delight to see it on the arm of someone who loves it even more!

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Viernes is bag day II: The Emure bag

Although I was raised in Lagos, there’s some pretty hard core Ekiti-ness (etymology: Ile Olokiti, or land of the hills) flowing in our veins that really defines us, my parents’ children.

Ekiti is in the Yoruba region of Nigeria. It has its own dialect of Yoruba called Ekiti which, though I don’t speak fluently, makes occasional cameos in the midst of the English and Yoruba that are the language staples in our household. Sometimes those cameos come thanks to the music of Elemure Ogunyemi (the fun part of the video below starts at 01:00).

‘Elemure’ means King of Emure, a town in Ekiti State. So you would say “Elemure of Emure’ in the same way you would say the Ooni of Ife, for instance.

In honor of that lovely hilly Ekiti town, I present you the Emure bag.

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Can you see the way the top of the bag undulates to emulate a hilly landscape? Mustard is one of my favourite colours, and being able to combine mustard leather with a mustard damask interior was for me like this huge wow moment from which I doubt I’ll ever recover.

Like, dude, wow.

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The Emure bag is a complete sensory feast, from the textured cowskin of its exterior and handles to the no-holds-barred hand-stitching on the exterior. I’m just gonna be silly and say that it’s one bag that is going at a ‘giveaway’ price, given the collectors item that it is. I don’t know if I would make another Emure bag, and I’m totally cool with it if this one never leaves the shelves.

Interior: Full damask lining, zipped inner pocket, leather-trimmed cell phone holder pocket.

I love Chief Elemure Ogunyemi’s music and how it brings me closer to Ekiti culture through a dialect I don’t hear enough of. I love Ekiti, that relentlessly pounded yam-consuming state. And I hope this bag, inspired by both, conveys some of that cultural loving to you, dear reader, and to whoever’s arm this bag may one day grace.

Love and warm wishes for a happy weekend,
Minku

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Viernes is bag day I: The Ado Weekender

Like most other designers, male or female, my love for fashion has its origins in my mum’s closet. The colours in there, and the shapes, the textures… When I started Minku in 2011, I very easily had three bags: two leather ones I’d bought for work circa 2007 (in trusty Marshalls, and rotated to death as in blue bag this week, black bag next :-) ) and one ‘street’ bag or the other. I knew little about bags. My inspiration when it came down to it was, “what would my mum like to wear? Or my sisters?”

I kept that question in my head through five collections. I would gift my mum bags and sometimes it was a hit; sometimes a miss.

The Ado Weekender is the first bag I’ve made that my mum would unequivocally love to wear.

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Ok, me too for sure, for a weekend getaway or two or a thousand. Or for a particularly busy workday, one where I need to be reminded to smile. What would I store in it? Well…

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The inside of the bag is fully lined with some seriously platinum-quality damask, and that includes the pocket on the side for storing your passport, or your cell phone for those calls before you hop on your flight. The zippers are durable metal, so there are no stories.

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The hand stitching on this bag is evident, up to 80% of the bag (including the side pocket, shown). The Ado weekender is made from cow leather, the straps are from matching sheepskin for a softer grip.

I am working on this bag in a few other colour schemes and, on popular demand, in black.

It is now available in the Minku online shop.

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Every week this Spring, I plan do something called ‘Viernes (Friday) is bag day,’ to highlight the bags in the new Minku collection. Which bag would you like to see featured next? The full list is here. I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments area :-)

Love, lots of it,Minku

Top ten uses of a summer bag

1- depending on its size, stuff your towel in it as you head to the beach. Keep it away from water – nobody said it will be 100% practical :-)
2- Store your music player in its front pocket, nod Ally McBeal style on the metro or at the traffic light.
3- Hide surprise cookies for your children, reveal cookies after work. Stock up on (even more) mummy points.
4- Keep wallet securely in zipped inner compartment. This is Barcelona afterall.
5- Show your intellectually-stylish side. Unapologetically.
6- Keep your dancing shoes. Head to salsa do after work.
7- Carry flip flops for a lunchtime walk along Barceloneta beach.
8- Go old-school and carry your camera around. Capture moments and scenery spectacularly lit by the Mediterranean summer sun.
9- Bring a harmonica to unexpected places. Sit and play a tune.
10- Store a 50cl bottle of water and some seriously chic sunshades. Winter is over. They’ll come in handy.

on the beach in Sitges, June 2012

You still have a few days of summer left in the year, so grab a timeless Minku bag from our web site and update us with comments on how you’re using yours.

Or shop our wintery bags that are always summery inside!

xoxo
Minku

Nneka for Minku: a photo shoot

While on tour, musician Nneka took some time to collaborate with Minku on a lovely photoshoot.

Nneka is a talented and beautiful Nigerian-German soul/reggae singer currently on tour across Europe, promoting her new album ‘Soul is Heavy’.

In a photo shoot that was lively and informal, Nneka modeled some bags from the Minku Autumn/Winter 2012 Collection, that included a five-compartment, red leather travel bag lined with green contrast aso-oke fabric. The collection, ‘Folklorist Reloaded’, expands on the theme of the Minku AW2011 collection — the power of folklorists to unveil old ways and help us imagine new possibilities through their colourful folktales.

Named after prominent folklorists, the bags explore colour through what has become a Minku trademark of combining Spanish-sourced leathers on the exteriors, and fabrics like aso-oke on the bag interiors.

Minku bags are sold exclusively at Nike Center for the Arts in Lekki Lagos and online (with worldwide shipping). Customization services are also available.

Nneka is currently touring Europe, with her relaxing and inspiring brand of soul fusion and cool dance moves such as kept us captivated during that warm summer night at Cruilla. If you get the chance to see her perform live, by all means put everything else aside and go.

Sign up to the Minku blog or join Minku on Facebook for outtake reels from the photo shoot, that would be posted shortly.

If you like any of the bags modeled by Nneka, visit our online store and see how much fun we have playing with colour. You can see different views of each bag, including Minku trademark aso-oke lined interiors.

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