Ivana Walker is the mastermind behind ANAVI DESIGNS, a line of well thought out and stylish handbags that every woman dreams of having in her wardrobe! The designer, who has a background as a jeweler, is passionate about everything related to luxury, style and practicality. She answered our questions in the latest #WomenInspiringWomen. Her answers to our question about the change affecting women in 2021 made us smile…Enjoy the interview!
What inspired you to start your own business?
I was always on the look out for a new travel bag, one that could be worn during the day and transition into the evening. I was unsuccessful finding a bag that was both high-end and versatile enough to carry my reading glasses, phone, wallet and other daily necessities!
I decided to take matters into my own hands and use my experience as a Master Jewelry Designer and Goldsmith to begin creating bespoke luxury handbags as a hobby. After my bags were featured on The Real Housewives of Toronto, my business took on a life of its own. I took a leap of faith and decided to open my own studio in Toronto, allowing customers to purchase an array of bespoke handmade bags, in addition to customizing and creating their own bags. I absolutely love working with my customers and giving them the ability to bring their artistic vision to life.
What differentiates your brand/product from the rest?
There are many Made in Canada designers and brands, however I like to differentiate myself by making one bag at a time, ensuring that each part of the bag is meticulously crafted and handmade with love.
When I work on creating a custom bag, I love being able to work alongside customers and have them select the leather, hardware and other items they want to incorporate into their design. One of my new favourite services is taking having customers provide me with meaningful family brooches, and style them onto a new handbag for them!
My brand ethos is that a handbag is more than just an accessory, it is a crucial and powerful utensil for channeling self-expression through fashion.
Do you have a life motto?
Be open to new ideas, always listen and instead of saying ‘no’ at first, be open to understanding someone else’s point of view.
Tell us about the reality of your industry?
The fashion industry is fast-paced and ever changing, and one of my favourite parts is staying on top of new styles and trends. Staying on top of trends could be a job on its own! One of my favourite things about being a designer is taking these fashion trends and incorporating them into my product sketches / designs and selecting colours and fabrics that would best suit each bag. When I create a bag, it’s really important that it’s functional, up-to-date, but that it’s also classic and won’t be going out of style the next day!
What’s the one product that’s always in your purse?
One product that is always in my purse is lipgloss! Can you ever have too many shades of pink!?
What is a fact about you that would surprise others?
I LOVE NFL Football. I am so excited for Sundays and I always wear my “I love Sunday” top from Oprah’s Favorite List.
What changes concerning women would you like to see in 2021?
I think spreading kindness and being a cheerleader for other women is super important, and I would love to see this continue and grow into 2021. It is extremely important for women to support each other, especially women in the same field. There is nothing more gratifying then being truly happy for your fellow colleagues and showing unconditional support.
What advice would you like to give to today’s women?
Put a smile on your face! We are wearing masks and if you smile then that resonates to your eyes. Even if it’s a complete stranger, smile and feel the karma .
I also believe that you should be positive for change, embrace it and challenge yourself to always think outside of the box, giving you the opportunity to evolve professionally and personally.