Feature Friday: #KOLLOQUIAL

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

1390202_161861170689982_934640064_nThis week we are featuring Donna Ko of #KOLLOQUIAL. She designs a custom line of totes which feature popular song lyrics on them. We love how simple they are, but at the same time they are absolute show stoppers. People instinctively read what’s on your tote and may even get a flashback to one of their favorite 90s songs. Read on to learn more about #KOLLOQUIAL. Also read the whole way through, her last piece of advice is priceless!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself?

KOLLOQUIAL: Born & raised California gal working full time in advertising as a Senior Copywriter during the day, and moonlighting as some kind of designer, embroiderer, business lady-person.

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Castle Logo: How did #KOLLOQUIAL get started?

KOLLOQUIAL: #KOLLOQUIAL started randomly as just a personal DIY project for myself. Then I started carrying the tote around town and on trips, I received a lot of funny compliments. That’s when I decided to make some for friends as gifts. I never thought about selling my bags seriously, not to mention didn’t have the time to even make the bags with my full time job. But when I got laid off, was in a weird relationship, and resting from a surgery, I just thought, “I have nothing else to lose.” Saying “the universe works in mysterious ways” would be a huge understatement.

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Castle Logo: Your bags feature lyrics from popular songs. What inspires you to choose each specific lyric for your bags?

KOLLOQUIAL: Picking the lyrics and phrases is the hardest part. I’m mostly inspired by songs I grew up listening to, which is a lot of 90s hip-hop and rap with some 90s top 40s, but it really all comes down to 3 things—what’s the most iconic line, what will read the funniest in cursive, and how people will read it out loud or to themselves (which is slow). I think it’s so funny when people read “shoop shoop badoop” and “it’s like this & like that & like this & uh” as a normal sentence without rhythm.

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Castle Logo: You make it a point to print on 100% organic totes. Why did you choose this route in your production process?

KOLLOQUIAL: I wanted totes that wouldn’t be harsh on the environment since fashion is a painfully wasteful industry. 100% organic totes mean that cotton farmers and factories are putting less chemicals in the product which means less waste in the environment. The quality of the totes were also perfect.

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Castle Logo: You recently entered the UrbanOutfitters Dreamers + Doers contest. What would you do if you won?

KOLLOQUIAL: Oh Yeezus! Umm…I’d quit my day job!! But I’d also hire help with marketing and production.

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Castle Logo: What are your favorite and least favorite things about running your own business?

KOLLOQUIAL: My favorite this about running my own business is exactly that. I run it how I want without asking for approval from anyone. And my least favorite can ironically be just that—running my own business. It’s a lot of responsibility and multitasking.

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Castle Logo: You’ve been featured in Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, Brit+co and Foam Magazine. How did it feel when you first saw your pieces in the press?

KOLLOQUIAL: It’s all very flattering! They’re all websites/publications that I admire. Each feature is always a pleasant surprise—operative word being “surprise”. I don’t have Google alerts or analytics or whatever that stalking system is, so one morning I’ll wake up with a ton of hits, emails, and orders and I have to research where they’re all coming from. See, I need help!


Castle Logo: Do you take custom orders? If so, what was one of your most memorable custom designs?

KOLLOQUIAL: I do! Sometimes I’ll post random little illustrations on my instagram, and next thing I know, people want the same thing! So they’re usually boobies or butts, ha!

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Castle Logo: Have you always sewn or was it something you learned along the way?

KOLLOQUIAL: I wish I was one of those people that could say, “Yeah! I’ve been doing this since I was 5.” But nope, it was something I taught myself and learned along the way. My mom taught me shortcuts on how to tie knots, and I’m pretty good at sewing on buttons, but I have never touched a sewing machine. Full disclosure, I learned how to embroider through YouTube!

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Castle Logo: What song lyrics do you think we will be seeing from #KOLLOQUIAL in the future?

KOLLOQUIAL: Maybe some Fleetwood Mac, maybe some Elton John, maybe some Beach Boys, maybe some Savage Garden, maybe some Drake, maybe!

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Castle Logo: Any advice?

KOLLOQUIAL: Get a puppy! I’m serious.






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