Angela Roi: The vegan handbag label to love
Established is 2013 by married couple Angela and Roi Lee, this is a no-sacrifice fashion brand that should be on your radar.
Offering high-fashion handbag styles that are ethical and approachable for all women, this label merges the contemporary and the classic. Think Jackie O-type classic top handle shapes, to super cute pouches that are perfect for when you’re on the go. We chat with Angela to learn more about the label and their recent rebrand.
Tell us about Angela Roi…
Studying political science and becoming a lawyer were my original career plans. With fashion as my side interest, I began to notice the lack of ethical fashion brands in the industry. The number of designer handbag brands that were harming animals and not treating their factory workers fairly was unsettling.
I struggled to find ethical handbag brands with high-quality pieces that were also affordable and stylish. Many vegan handbag brands were of low quality and not elegant. With all of this in mind, I started my journey to create an ethical handbag brand that was high quality, approachable, and aesthetically pleasing. I teamed up with Roi, my business savvy college boyfriend, to create Angela Roi. After the launch in 2013, I dropped out of college to focus on the brand full time.
From our origins, Angela Roi’s look has been timeless elegance. The minimal aesthetic of our handbags is not prescriptive, but rather allows each and every wearer to create a look that’s all their own. While pursuing the core design, I also ensure that the bags are comfortable and useful for modern women. Many of our bags come with more than two straps and have a number of pockets for many uses.
How did the rebrand come about?
Since our founding, Angela Roi has been elevating luxury handbags for the vegan community, creating artisan-made products that are both dependable and cruelty-free.
As our growth rate exceeded 100% annually, we surveyed our loyal customers and realized that more and more non-vegans were supporting our brand’s mission to create ethical handbags that are good for all creatures. Additionally, many were recognizing the value of our design, quality, and price point.
We took the next step to transform the way we think about fashion by expanding our target audience — because our values of poise, purpose, and craftsmanship can be enjoyed by all.
How long has it been in the making?
We have been preparing for the rebranding since April of 2019. One of our friends introduced us to Simon Mortimer, a branding expert. Simon spent a number of hours with Roi and me to fully understand not only the brand, but also the personality, original values, and history behind Angela Roi. Over the past six months, we have been enhancing our brand by emphasizing our mission, personality, voice, and visuals. As a result, we were able to sharpen our narrative and solidify our brand assets. We’re still in the process of implementing and rolling-out more projects, but we’re very excited about this first step.
What are the pillars of your company?
We are driven by our values of poise, purpose, and craftsmanship. In the name of poise, our aesthetic continues the traditions of the world’s most renowned fashion houses with simple yet beautiful accessories. Again, it’s not a prescriptive look, but one that each and every woman can make her own. Our purpose is to transform the way we think about fashion by creating ethical accessories that are good for all creatures – humans and animals alike. Every bag is constructed exclusively of non-animal materials, and our artisans earn fair wages in clean, comfortable factories. Finally, we take pride in the fine craftsmanship of our skilled artisans and the high-quality materials they handle with such expertise. Our experienced artisans bring years of knowledge and experience to modern materials for true innovation.
In addition to these values, we are driven to impact the traditional fashion industry by our own rebellious nature. For too long, the fashion industry has sacrificed morals, money, and comfort, and every Angela Roi team member is passionate about tackling these issues. I strongly believe that this challenge as a whole is something that our customers resonate with and support the most.
Who is your customer?
Last year, 45% of our customers were vegan, 30% were vegetarian and 10% would like to be vegan but weren’t practicing. Only 15% of our customers were completely non-vegan or non-vegetarian. However, we’re certainly seeing a lot more non-vegan and non-vegetarian customers, already exceeding 30% of the new customers acquired this year.
So, there is no one kind of Angela Roi woman. They are sophisticated and culturally diverse; they live in big cities and small towns. Some are vegan and others are omnivores; some are fashion icons, activists, caring friends, and bad-ass business women. But no matter who they are or what they are doing, we’re confident that they make their decisions carefully, weighing the impact of their actions not just for themselves, but for the world around us. They take a stand for their values and are guided by a clear conscience. We call our community the Creatures of Conscience.
How would you like the company to evolve over the next 5 years? Do you have any immediate goals?
By rebranding, our immediate goal is to build stronger connections with those who believe in our mission. As our community grows, so will our impact on the fashion industry, allowing us to collectively tackle its injustices as we grow along our journey.
Our long-term goal is to get the fashion industry to a place where ethically made handbags are viewed in the same esteem as classic, leather-made luxury products. We want to make ethical production a standard within the handbag industry, and inspire growth in this sector for the benefit of all creatures.
We are currently in the midst of our latest development in ethical innovation: replacing plastic paper and plastic packaging with eco-friendly materials.
Our new eco-tags are made out of Bagasse, a fibrous pulp made from sugarcane plants, and our packaging is created with EL 724 Vinyl. Unlike chemical synthetic vinyl, which takes 100 years to fully decompose, a majority of EL 724 Vinyl is composed of natural elements. Both materials are 100% biodegradable, and under proper conditions, they will decompose and return to nature within 90 days. This change is the first of many initiatives to come as we progress our mission to transform the way we think about fashion.
Shop the brand on their website at angelaroi.com.