I first came across oovoo bags browsing on the website Unsung Designers. I was immediately drawn to the vibrantly colored, art deco shaped bags. As luck would have it, I stumbled into a rep for the line a couple of weeks later. I am thrilled we are able to have one for our giveaway this month.
Pauline Lewis, the founder and designer of oovoo began her business three years after burning out on the corporate world. She backpacked around Asia and thought, â€˜wouldn’t it be wonderful to work with women in Asia and give back to a poorer community?’ Vietnam was the most poverty stricken country she saw. During her time there she noticed these beautiful handbags with hand-sewn embroidery and the idea was born.
She later went back to Vietnam on a trade mission and found it nearly impossible to find a woman-owned production facility, let alone one that didn’t encourage horrible working conditions. Eventually she found and teamed up with Vietnamese designer, Ms. Le Thi Hong Tu. This partnership and collaboration has proven successful as oovoo now employs and sustains over 600 women in Vietnam.
Lewis lives by many philosophies. One is having a clear vision and not to compromise. (She turned down selling to department stores for fear it would take jobs away from the people that depend on them). Another philosophy is to work with and support other women owned business (another reason to turn down department store orders).
Oovoo bags can now be found in over 500 boutiques and stores in North America. Try your luck at winning the monthly giveaway or purchase your own. â€”Lauren Dimet
In Chicagoland, oovoo bags can be found at:
B. Beautiful, Northbrook
Fresh Clothing Co., Northfield
Casa Fina, Chicago
You may also find them online at: