For this Homegrown Business profile we spoke with Canadian Designer, Torontonian and founder of ANAVI Designs, Ivana Walker. She wants her clients to channel their inner self expression through her handcrafted, customized handbags.
What is your brand called and what do you make?
ANAVI DESIGNS is a Canadian brand that creates bespoke, luxury handbags from my studio located in Toronto. Perfectly balanced between fashion and utilitarian, ANAVI DESIGNS provides opulence that accompanies you in your everyday life.
I strongly believe that a handbag is more than just an accessory, it is a crucial and powerful utensil for channeling self-expression. All of my bags are made in small batches, and each bag is meticulously constructed and passed directly from my hands to the hands of the customer.
When did you launch?
I launched ANAVI Designs in June 2018. I founded the brand when I was on the hunt for a new travel bag, one that could be worn during the day, and easily transition into the evening. I was unsuccessful finding a bag that was both high-end and versatile to carry my reading glasses, phone, wallet and other daily necessities! Deciding to take matters into my own hands, I used 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.
What are some of the things that differentiate you from the competition?
In addition to offering an array of handcrafted, bespoke luxury handbags, I work alongside my customers to offer customized bag designs. When customers decide to curate their own bag, I meet with them to discuss their wants and needs, what the handbag will be used for, what will be placed inside the handbag, etc. We work closely together to select the unique leather, hardware closures, shape, pattern, size, colour and everything else needed to design the bag of their dreams.
Where is it made? What materials do you use?
All handbags are designed right here in Toronto – I have a studio (and my second home!) on St. Clair Avenue West.
Each bag that I curated uses different materials, but I often use leather, suedes and vinyl. Most recently, I began creating denim bags (using denim that would otherwise be thrown into landfills), and pair the bags with leather to create a new line/accessory. I meticulously source the denim from local second-hand clothing stores and donation centres within Toronto, giving these fabrics a second chance at life.
Who is your target audience?
I find that my main audience who shop at ANAVI Designs are women and men who are 30+. I love curating bags that will reach and interest a large audience, and I also design unisex bags. I started designing a versatile unisex Cruiser messenger bag which is engineered to have ample space for all essentials, and a removable shoulder strap so that the bag is super functional (and can be worn as a hand bag or a hands-free cross-body!).
Who are some of your fashion influences?
Two of my all-time favourite fashion influencers/designers are Diane von Furstenberg and Salvatore Ferragamo. Both designers curate looks that are classic and timeless, a trait that I strive to achieve with ANAVI Desgins.
Where can we purchase your brand?
My accessories can be purchased in-store (1294 St. Clair Ave W), select boutiques and online at www.anavidesigns.com
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto fashion brand or designer that you like?
I love this question and I’m a huge advocate of supporting other female designers. One of my favourite Toronto jewellery brands is called Victory of the People. Designed by Nicoletta Papadaki and brought to life by a team of highly skilled craftspeople, each piece of jewellery curated is bold, flawless and timeless.