Updated: Jan 14
More and more people are getting tired of fast fashion and mass consumption. They want to know where their things are coming from. Aside from that, shoppers are looking for uniqueness - something that they know, nobody else possesses.
All this is not only true for shirts, pants or shoes but also for accessories, bag packs and bags. One brand for which uniqueness is at the core of its identity is Finders Keepers. Each and every bag is made exactly once. The person who finds it first, keeps it.
We would like to take you behind the scenes and show you how some of these bags are made and what motivates the Finders Keepers Founder Wayne to stick to its unique value proposition.
What made you start this business?
I am from Penang and moved to Kuala Lumpur when my daughter wanted to start a business here. For a while I looked around for a job but it was difficult to find one. So I thought I go back into the fashion industry. I knew however I did not want to make clothes. It is too complicated. Bags are easier.
I could not find a job, so I created one.
During a trip to China and Taiwan, I was trying to buy bags and sell them back in Malaysia. When I found out that only bulk purchases are possible, I took matters into my own hands. Once back in Kuala Lumpur, I went to a night market to buy a bag which I dismantled to see exactly how it was made. Then I went to buy a sewing machine and tried make different kind of bags.
Slowly but surely more friends and family members liked my designs and so I started selling them on markets. It was a very slow start but it has been 12 years now that I do this and I find my designs have been picked up quite well. With more and more people liking my products, I started thinking about a name for my brand.
Who ever finds it first, keeps it.
I came up with the name Finders Keepers because I do not believe in mass production and fashion. I do believe in unique designs and patterns. In fact all my bags are one of a kind. In ten years, I have never repeated one design. I make each bag only once.
How has your business evolved since you started it?
I started off with making bags for which I hand picked fabrics. Later I started using batik. These patterns are unique to Malaysia and the fact that they are all handprinted makes them one of a kind.
Now I also design and sell pillow cases and bow ties. I have even started to turn old clothes into very nice hand bags. My customers are happy, cause they don’t have to throw out their favourite shirt or skirt which they cannot wear anymore for whatever reason. Instead, I help them convert it into a bag.
How do you source your materials?
I do source my materials from different sources. The batik comes from a close friend. She also helps me design the patterns. For the rest of the bag, I use PVC. It is long lasting and is of good quality. I don’t use real leather. I am a vegetarian and do not want to use any animal products.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
The designs for my bags evolve slowly. One thing that is very important to me is the uniqueness of the designs and patterns that I use. My friend who supplies me with Batik, finds it challenging at times to keep us with my demands for uniqueness. I think it is good. Challenges are what make us better and help us evolve after all.