MY HUSTLE: I designed my first bag using a pillow case - Daily Nation

MY HUSTLE: I designed my first bag using a pillow case

Wednesday August 29 2018

Marion Vionna is the designer behind Tendaji bags which she sells online.

Marion Vionna is the designer behind Tendaji bags which she sells online. PHOTO| COURTESY  

By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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Marion Vionna describes herself as a creative of sorts, and a travel writer who likes to tell stories through photographs.

Creating and designing bags, gift ideas and putting a smile on people's faces happens to be her passion, as well as what she does best for a living.

You're doing so many things at the same time! But what seems to shine through is your creativity. How would you define the word creative?

Thank you, sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down and try not to do it all. To me the word creative means someone who sees the world as your muse. Seeing possibilities everywhere, having 1000 tabs open inside your brain and not knowing how to close them. Creativity is a way of letting people inside your mind without them having to cut you open.

One of the bags designed by Vionna.

One of the bags designed by Vionna. PHOTO| COURTESY

What made you branch into bags, from photography?

Since I was young, I loved making small bags for myself to carry pens and markers while in school. It was a passion that never really went away.

One day, I was going to the supermarket and couldn't stand the plastic bags used to store products bought, so I went back home and made a grocery bag out of a pillow case. Eventually I needed something strong and stylish and decided to make a big shopping tote bag for myself. Everyone kept asking me about where I got my shopping bag from, and that's how I rekindled my love for bag making again.

She likes to give her bags a personal touch.

She likes to give her bags a personal touch. PHOTO| COURTESY

It's quite the jump, but photography and bags still go hand in hand in my world, because when travelling and taking landscape photography, I have to carry my photography gear inside one of my travel bags.

How do you get inspiration for the bags you design, and where can we find them?

I get inspiration from day to day activities really. Before designing a bag, I always put myself in my client's position; what does one look for in a bag?

If it's a travel bag, you need all the compartments you can get for all your little things. Most of my friends have babies, so I imagined that as a mother, you would want to carry a bag that's still stylish but able to fit all of your baby's things inside. Pretty much.

Marion  says that she draws inspiration for her

Marion says that she draws inspiration for her designs from everyday experiences. PHOTO| COURTESY

I love to give my bags a personal touch, which makes it my signature look, as it were. I currently sell my bags online, and they are available anywhere within Kenya. You can find them on my Instagram Page: @tendajicreations or Facebook @Tendaji Designs.

What are your favourite tour sites in Kenya - outside of the usual Mombasa, etc.?

My favourite part has to be Laikipia, just for the peace and quiet I get while there. Nanyuki for the lovely cool weather and Kisumu for the breathtaking sunsets.

A travel bag by Vionna's brand; Tendaji Designs.

A travel bag by Vionna's brand; Tendaji Designs. PHOTO| COURTESY

What responsibility do you think creatives have in shaping policy, for example, in view of draconian laws trying to regulate content, or unnecessary fees?

I have so much to say about the draconian laws right now, but I choose peace within myself.

Although as creatives, sometimes we can tend to get carried away, but that doesn't mean we have to be burdened with laws that not only stifle our content, but also deny us the chance to be able to showcase our art.

Vionna creates her designs with the customer's needs in mind.

Vionna creates her designs with the customer's needs in mind. PHOTO| COURTESY

One thing I have really come to appreciate is educating myself about Intellectual Property Laws in Kenya. We have lawyers like Liz Lenjo-Kags, for example, who are using their knowledge on IP laws to educate most of us who really don't know our rights as creatives.

One of Vionna's bags. They are available online.

One of Vionna's bags. They are available online. PHOTO| COURTESY

It's good for us to familiarise ourselves with such and hopefully find an amicable solution to the draconian laws and unnecessary fees put in place - for photographers especially.