Czech Life Luciela Taschen - a new leather bag brand with a brand-new showroom
It was some six years ago that Lucia Jamrichová started making crochet net bags – they became a huge success and soon, her brand Luciela Taschen was featured in magazines and newspapers. Now, Lucia has decided to take her passion for designing hand bags one step further. Her new designs are made from quality leather – and can be touched, smelled and purchased at her showroom on Letná’s Veverkova street. That is where I recently met her to talk about bags, her love for crafts and fashion and what it feels like to be sitting in front of one’s newly opened showroom.
“Actually, I feel like home, because I live in the same house that the shop is in, and it is actually more of a showroom – it is a presentation of two brands: Luciela Taschen, which is my brands, handbags, and another brand that is Antiperle, which is jewelry with pearls from Asia.”
And your own brand is called Luciela Taschen. Could you talk about your designs and about the name a bit?
“Luciela Taschen was founded in Berlin, I was living in Berlin and did not have much to do, I couldn’t find a job, so I started making crochet net bags and one day, as I was going to a flea market to sell them, I found out that I didn’t have a name for the products I was going to sell. So I made this brand name up – Luciela is my nickname, I have a friend who uses it quite a bit, and taschen is German for bags, and also happens to be the name of a big publishing house that I really like.”
I believe that those net bags were quite a success and sold very well?
“Yes, it was, at the beginning especially, because there were no such bags on the market here when I started in 2006 and I had some nice coverage in the press. In Marianne magazine and some newspapers. And also support from people, it was nice, who bought them. It was quite personal because they were custom made, customers could choose the colors, so I had many positive reactions.”
“No, I have two sisters and my mother would always make clothes for us, and eventually, we also started making things. So I can crochet, I can knit, and I can sow.”
I believe that it was quite time-intensive to crochet these bags. Now, you are working on another type of bags. Maybe you could describe what they are like.
“So the new Luciela Taschen is Luciela Leather, they are made of leather, of two circlers sown together. They are quite flat but you can put a lot of things in there, documents, even a small laptop. And they are handheld, without straps. But they are very stylish and each is one-of-a-kind, with different color combinations from different types of leather.”
And where do you source your leather and who actually makes those bags for you?
“I have a person who delivers the leather to me, a man who runs a business outside of Prague and he always searches for special types of leather for me. Right now he is searching for gold lather, which is quite complicated. And after a long search, I finally found a very talented craftsman who can sow the bags for me. He also works for well-known brands with stores on the luxurious Pařížská street here in Prague, so I am really glad, because you can tell that the quality is very good.”
“I made the first bag maybe a year-and-a-half ago, and I was testing it and getting a lot of positive reactions. So last fall, I decided to start a business and really do it seriously, search for materials, etc. The design is a circle, a very simple shape. It is also a very feminine shape, whereas squares are more masculine, so maybe that is the inspiration.”
So you are opening your business at a time when everyone is speaking about the European debt crisis. That is quite courageous. Was it a conscious decision or did it just happen that way?
“I am a brave girl. I just thought: I want to do that and you always find a solution. I do not pay a lot of rent, and I can always come up with it. I haven’t made a lot of investments. I try to go step by step. Fewer designs, not too many bags. Later, if it works well, I can produce more, but not from the beginning. I will see how successful it becomes.”
How is the market in the Czech Republic for young designers? How difficult is it to establish yourself?
“What helps a lot are these special fashion events like code Mode, which starts this week, on Thursday, where young designers can sell their stuff. And there also are a lot of design shops here now, all over the country, not just in Prague but also in Brno, for example Leporello in the art house there, they have great stuff, both from home and abroad. So there are options to sell your stuff now even if you don’t have your own shop.”
I believe you open next Monday. What are your hopes for the future of Luciela Taschen?
“We call it showroom, which is the official name of the space. So we won’t be open everyday, but definitely three days a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. We also want to spend some time here creating the things, and become a sort of meeting point for friends and customers. There is a little bistro opening next to us, so we hope that we will make this part of Letná a bit more alive.”
Let’s go inside the showroom then and take a look at your bags. You have them all lined up against the wall here. Maybe you can describe some of the colors that are available?
And you also have some metallic leathers, silver for example, which I really like.
“I have some bags with silver, yes, but none that are entirely silver. But I have combinations with black, red, dark green and brown, and then I have bronze leather, which is also very popular.”
Let’s take a look at this new type of bag from felt. I believe those are handmade by you?
“This was made just a few days ago. I am finishing them right now, because I would like to present a prototype at Code Mode, so I can get some reactions from people. They are square and have leather straps, long and short ones. And this bag can also worn by man.”
What inspired you to design handbags of all things?
“Actually, I don’t know. I just like bags quite a lot and I used to buy a lot of second hand bags, because they are higher quality and I really like old things, natural materials like leather and felt.”
“Yes, I try to be in touch with other designers and check out the competition. I recently found out that there is a company which makes similar bags to mine, without knowing my designs, I guess. So I have to watch out so I don’t end up making things that are too similar to other people’s products.”
More about Luciela Taschen can be found at this website: