This 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!
: #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.
: 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.
: 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.
: 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.
: 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!
: 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!