Brand Partner: Allégorie

Brand Partner: Allégorie

Access79 is thrilled to partner with Allégorie, a luxury bag brand that recycles unwanted fruits into desirable, stunning products. From wallets to handbags, laptop cases and backpacks, Allégorie is committed to sustainability, a common objective with which Access79 aligns. We were fortunate to sit down with Heather Jiang, founder of Allégorie, and delve into the intricacies of running her brand and her visions.

Q: What inspired you to start Allegorie? 

I love food. I love cooking. And, I’ve always hated seeing good food go to waste. It should be simple, but somehow we’ve ended up with huge humanitarian and environmental problems with food waste. Then a couple of years ago, I found out that many consumers like me have been lied to by the vegan leather industry. Many of the products I purchased, thinking that it’s better for the environment, turned out to be PVC. I figured there must be a better solution and started researching in this space.

Q: What makes your brand unique?

For us, reducing food waste is the top priority and accessories are just one of many ways to recycle these resources back into society. By the end of September this year, we have already upcycled roughly 175,000 apples and 350lbs of mangoes. 

Q: What’s your favorite piece/product from the company?

I love the puzzle cardholders. I carry a brown one. They are very elegant, compact and hold everything I need. 

Q: What is your favorite part of your job? 

Seeing the surprised and confused faces everyone makes when they are told that the bag is made from apples or mangoes. 

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no such thing. Everyday is something new in startup life.

Q: What’s a big win you’ve had in your career? 

Starting my own business. It’s painful but very rewarding. I met so many brilliant, like-minded people, including my co-founder. Next thing you know, we were baking mango, apples and other fruits in the oven for testing & concept proofing. 

Q: Who’s your role model? 

My mom. She is a strong and loving person. She came from nothing and fought her way through to become a successful business woman in a male-dominant industry. I am very fortunate to have her in my life. 

Q: Rings or earrings?

Earrings. I love cooking and rings always get in the way.

Q: Emeralds or diamonds?

Emeralds, for the color. I love green. 

Q: What’s your definition of balance?

Knowing what is the priority/goal in a given period of time in your life and arrange everything else in your life to make it work.

Q: You’re a client of Access79 -- what’s your favorite piece?

A simple, elegant necklace that compliments any outfit like the Ashani Emerald Necklace.

(Far right: Ashani Emerald Necklace, Far left: Ashani Sapphire Necklace)


Q: By the way, do you think multitasking works?

Depends on your definition for multitasking. Can we work on multiple projects in a given period of time?  Yes. Can we actually think about two things or type on two keyboards at the same time, no. I think I read somewhere that science has proven that one cannot think about two things at exactly the same time. 

And for the first scenario, it also depends on the context and the individual. Some thrive at switching gears between different projects, some prefer a focused approach. They are just two different styles of problem solving. I don’t think one is inherently better than the other.  One thing about good leadership is to understand what works best under what circumstances. 

I do think multitasking as a “skill” is over glorified. It’s mostly used as a way for companies to overwork employees. And in everyday life, the idea that “multitasking is expected” puts lots of stress on people and leads to mental health problems. And women have been disapraopraitiatly affected by this expectation from society to excel at multiple roles at the same time.

Q: Do you think women can have it all?

I always found this statement problematic. What’s the definition for “all”?  If we mean everything that the universe can ever offer, I don't think anyone in human history, men or women, ever had it all. So why use the phrase as if it’s realistic?

If it’s a way to describe being successful, that also depends on what the definition for “success” is. And different people have very different opinions on this.  A housewife can be considered a success. A CEO may also be considered successful. Personally, what I considered to be successful in my early 20s has changed so much in the past few years. Part of the idea that “women can have it all” is derived from this concept that “men had it all”. But did they? We saw successful corporate men in the office, but didn’t see all the sacrifices their wives made at home. So in reverse, when women crush it in the workplace, does that mean their spouse will have to make more sacrifices? Some may want both a “career” and a “career spouse” too. It’s very easy to overlook the compromises that one has to make in private life for a “have it all” life in public.

So yes everyone can aspire to have it all, but in real life, is it actually possible? One of my favorite female comedians, Michelle Wolf, had a nice spin on this, “You act like all is good. All does not mean good. You never left an All-You-Can-Eat buffet and think ‘I felt really good about myself’.”

Q: Tell us one quote or mantra that you live by?

The choices we make, especially the small ones we make over and over again everyday, define who we are.

Q: Who’s another female founder/female-founded company we should know about/who should know about Access79? 

NOPALERA founded by Sandra Velasquez. She is a fellow minority business owner who built a luxury skin brand by drawing inspiration from her cultural heritage. Very inspiring!


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