In 2012, I took a 1 month vacation between jobs. My well-traveled sister convinced me to go to Southeast Asia on the trip that changed my life. Halfway through, I was in Hoi An, Vietnam…a beautiful beach town with a vibrant shopping district. Stepping into a store, I purchased a beautiful leather bag and walked out. Bursting with glee, I heard the store owner run out of her store. “You can’t take this bag”. I joked back “I just gave you money…and now I take this bag. That’s how it works in my country. How does it work in yours?” “You come into my store, pick a bag, a leather, lining …and I make you a bag like that one.” My brain exploded with delight. I asked to add a shoe pocket and she obliged. The next morning, the first product that I’d personally designed was ready for me.

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