Andrea Wong is no stranger to Much & Little. We’ve carried her beautiful products for quite a while now and are excited to share this interview with a local designer that we support and love! The Vancouver resident, along with her personal team, designs and produces handcrafted leather goods inspired by the Pacific Northwest. With a meticulous attention to detail, functionality, and visual appeal, Andrea Wong’s creations are timeless, attractive, and practical. Each product is unique, tells a story, and is meant to age gracefully with use and love.
You can find out more at: https://awbyandreawong.com/
Pictured above: Granville tote in caramel, Main backpack in black, Northwest crossbody bag in caramel (https://awbyandreawong.com/).
It was our pleasure getting to know the designer in more depth; here’s a glimpse into her life and creative process:
1. What was the inspiration behind the first AW by Andrea Wong collection?
“When I first began AW by Andrea Wong, it happened quite organically. I was taking some time off for the first time in over a decade after working as a full time designer in corporate fashion. I travelled quite a lot during my time as a clothing designer and had accumulated leather skins and beautiful handwoven and printed textiles. I began experimenting and working with the materials that I had on hand. I spent time enjoying the process and creativity brought on by these limitations.
Initially, I started producing bags without the intention to sell them. I wanted to give new life to these beautiful materials that I had just admired on a shelf, so it was important that they would also function well for everyday adventures. I started taking my studio projects more seriously when I had a friend come to visit and insist that I sell her a bag. Sometimes it just takes that one person to encourage you to take that leap. I ended up a bit backwards having the products first before I even had a logo or a brand name.”
2. How do you ensure the uniqueness of your designs against the competition?
“Every item in my collection continues to be handcrafted; this is a slow but rewarding process. This also influences the way I design. I don’t want to be producing an item that someone could find in any leather line. If I am going to be spending the time to make a lovingly handcrafted item, I want to create a unique and functional design with quality materials that will age gracefully. My passion lies in the design process and less so in the business side of things. I enjoy spending my time thinking about specific details like closures, pockets and leather strap attachments to ensure that my designs are unique to my line and well thought out.”
3. Was there a particular motivation behind the need to focus on women’s accessories specifically? Do you plan to branch out into creating other types of products?
“I suppose the products I initially created were more feminine. However, my line has been moving into cleaner more architectural lines which is creating more gender neutral items. I started designing more tech focused items such as laptop cases and phone slings which is something that I would like to continue to explore.”
4. What is the aspect of your business that you take the most pride in?
“After designing for reputable clothing lines with regular visits overseas at the factory level, I knew when I started my business that it was important to me to keep things more localized. I am proud that I run an ethically sourced and locally produced business.”
5. What is/has been the most challenging part of your journey as a designer?
“The most challenging aspect of my journey as a designer is growing my business without compromising the product or the values that I have instilled.”
6. What are some of your other hobbies, interests, and passions?
“I am most happy in the outdoors. If I am on a snowboard in the winter or camping along the coast in the summer, I am at ease. I have worked along side the DTES community for years and am now looking at different ways I can effectively input my skill set.”
7. As someone who appreciates what Vancouver has to offer, what is your favourite thing about this city?
“The mountains and the ocean! In the summer you can have a sunset beach picnic after work. In the winter you can hit a local mountain and have a snowboard session after work – and that’s all just during the week!”
8. What do you hope to achieve in the future, personally and professionally?
“When I began working on AW it was a very open and exploratory time. I am looking forward to returning to that mode of productive and playful uncertainty as I continue to explore other avenues. I don’t want to limit myself to just design but also more outdoor adventures involving back country camping and bike touring as well as community development work.”
Don’t know what to gift him or her for the holidays? At Much and Little, we’ve got a wide selection of fun and practical products that are perfect for the on-the-go man or woman in your life. Everything from tumblers to umbrellas to deodorant, we’ve got you covered to make your holiday shopping that much easier! Visit us in store today to browse through our wide variety of gift items.
Ideas For Him
These ten items capture everything that he would need to prepare for a day out and about. Talk about putting the fun in functional!
Featured in the photo:
- Herschel Dawson knapsack
- Baggu reusable tote
- United By Blue t-shirt
- Corksicle steel tumbler
- Ted Baker manicure set
- Growler carrier
- Activated charcoal deodorant
- Leather key carrier
- Aromatherapy spray – Rugged Gentleman
- Blunt XS umbrella – Navy
Ideas For Her
Keep her hydrated, refreshed, and inspired with these colourful essentials for the girl on the go.
Featured in the photo:
- Fog Linen tote bag
- Baggu reusable tote
- XS Unified cuffed pom pom beanie
- Corksicle stemless tumbler
- Concept planner
- Gold nail clippers
- Everyday Oil
- Hola natural deodorant
- Booda Butter daily moisturizer
- Aromatherapy spray – Good Morning Beautiful
- Blunt XS umbrella – Red
We’ve put together a list of things for the men in your life. Those special guys who are sometimes so hard to buy for! Take a peek through – we hope you see something that just might make them smile come Christmas morning. xo
Made in Texas out of sustainable materials, splattered ties in three colourways will elevate his tie game. $115 each.
How about a sweet set of copper shot glasses! $46.95
Locally made cedar cutting boards in various sizes and shapes from James Steidle. Also pictured is his carbon steel outdoor knife with copper details and leather sheath. Quality, function and beauty. Boards range in price from $35 to $250; knives are $190.
Key carrier from Orbitkey. Keep keys tidy and prevents jingling around. Will hold 2-7 keys and has a loop to hold a car key. $49.95
Handsome money clips for the man who doesn’t want any fuss carrying his cash. Handmade in Santa Fe. $56.
Sturdy, locally made growler carriers from Greff fit standard 64oz growlers. $90. They pair nicely with slim glasses inspired by traditional German beer tasting glasses. Short $10.95; tall $12.95.
All natural skin care from Brooklyn-based Hercules Beard Co. Body balm, beard/mustache oil, shave oil and deodorant. $21.95 – $37.95
An extra large enamel mug for the guy who loves the outdoors. $32.95
Handmade in Montreal by Dahls Craft, these aprons are perfect for the workshop, kitchen, studio, or garden. Made of heavyweight canvas and leather. $98 – $120
It’s always handy to have a manicure kit on hand. This 5-piece set comes with a nice zip up case. $59.95
A sturdy (and great looking) log carrier for the guy who chops his own wood. Give him an upgrade from that plastic bucket. Made of heavy weight canvas with leather straps. $125.
Everybody has a special lady in their life – be it their mom, wife, sister, significant other, grandma, BFF, mentor… the list goes on. We’ve hand selected some gifts that will make her feel especially loved this time of year. Guys, listen up – this list is for you – don’t wait until the last minute! As usual, we’re on hand at the shop to help you put together something really special. We want you to feel as good about your purchase as she does receiving it. xo
Pyrrha talisman necklaces will always win favours! Each charm has a different symbolism and meaning. Design and made in Vancouver for over 20 years. Lots to choose from in the shop. Prices range form $154 to $233.
Ultra soft oversized scarf for blustery days. Also available in grey mix. $95.
Linen covered recipe boxes with gold detailing for the organized cook. Recipe cards included. $58.95
Hand thrown mugs and bowls with delicate gold and blue dots make a thoughtful present. Made in Golden, BC by Kalika Bowlby. $46 each.
Soft and supple open long cardigan in a deep moss green. Elegant and versatile. $260
The Radio Purse from Minor History is a great all purpose bag with a modern shape. Adjustable straps, brass hardware and plenty of room for all the essentials. Available in black or Carnelian leather. $235.
New styles of Tense wooden watches have arrived – large and small faces available. Made locally and always a lovely present. Styles range in price from $168 to $265.
Stay cosy and warm on those winter walks. Sweater by Day. $234.99
Perfect for anyone who loves to entertain. Uncomplicated recipes and inspiration for food, cocktails and gatherings. Full colour photos on every page. $45.95
Made by artisans in Santa Fe, New Mexico, these tuxedo knives make a sweet gift. Assorted patterns and colours. $68 – $74.
Handwoven, fair trade towels make a thoughtful gift. They can also be used as shawls and throws. The photo doesn’t do them justice! The texture and subtle slub in these are tell tale signs of a truly handcrafted item. We have other styles in the shop as well. For the lady who appreciates quality, timeless goods. $98.
Help her stay organized with a 12-month agenda. Hardcover and organized monthly with plenty of room for important dates and notes. $45.95
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th! How will you show your mama, your mama-in-law, or your kids’ mama what they mean to you? An afternoon of pampering? A lovely dinner out? A few hours of “solo time”? All good ideas! If you feel like getting her a gift, we’ve made it easy for you by selecting a few items we think would help make her day!
Luxury aromatherapy products from Vitruvi. Hand-crafted in Vancouver using high grade essential oils. Six nurturing and uplifting varieties. Available as oil roll-ons and facial tonics/mists.
Romantic and sweet. Cotton swiss dot babydoll nightie from The Sleep Shirt.
A handy and uber-cute pouch for daily essentials: charger cords, cosmetics, pens and pencils, receipts… you get the idea.
Sweet enamel lockets from Paris
A sweet waffle weave linen robe to wrap herself in on Sunday morning.
Gorgeous leather accessories from Tanner Goods.
Linen slippers are a no-brainer – they also travel well!
Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 15th! If you’re searching for ideas to make your pa feel like the SUPER-DAD he is, look no further. Below are some of our favourite Father’s Day picks!
If he’s a coffee purist then look no further. The manual Camano Coffee Mill from Red Rooster is handsome and functional (and way quieter that that electric grinder). Fully adjustable from coarse to very fine. Sold separately are our reusable cotton coffee filters and 1/8 cup cherry wood coffee scoop.
Is his sock collection looking a bit sad? Does he need a dose of colour in his wardrobe? Maybe he’s the conservative type but his feet are more progressive? These socks will are the perfect gift for any dad.
Classic, durable and handsome, this heavy-duty waxed canvas and leather briefcase from Frost River easily doubles as an overnight bag.
Bring out the kid in him with one (or two!) of our t-shirts from Gnome Enterprises.
Always a winner – wood watches locally made by Tense. Adjustable and amazingly lightweight, we now have even more styles to choose from.
A clever and versatile waxed canvas and leather bike bag made by local gal Andrea Wong. Comes with three adjustable loop attachments to fit most standard frame sizes.
Assorted apothecary products from our friends at Otter Wax will keep Dad looking and smelling good. All natural, pure and – as always – no otters were harmed in the making of these products!
“Shake”: a great book that is one part instructional recipe guide, one part photo-journey through a year of cocktail crafting between two best friends who met in university. Filled with inspiring photographs, this little gem will be put to good use by any cocktail lover.