Taking her inspiration from the love of material and detail, Juanita Gomez has always been passionate about design, products and fashion.
Native to Colombia, Juanita moved to the US West Coast in 2001. This confident and hard working woman began her creative journey studying Product Design at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Recognized in the filed for her great understanding of aesthetics and her sense of details, colors, material and textures, Juanita Gomez recently decided to launch her own art collection, Sweet Angels. The terms crafty, casual, sophisticated and chic bohemian are her key to success, and she knows how to value them in her work.
We’ve interviewed Juanita on her work, life and what’s next…check out her answers to our questions!
WHERE DID THE NAME “SWEET ANGEL”‘ COME FROM? The name “Sweet Angels” is representative of the thought and importance that each bag gets from the moment the intention is set throughout manifestation and completion. It’s my art and I get attached to it, each design is my sweet little angel, my precious creation, attachment, love, and spirituality. I am very spiritual and I believe in Angels, therefore the names of my bags are spiritual bohemian and angelic. The name of the Totes line is ANAYA, which means ‘Caring, Guardian and Protection Angel’. GAIA is the name of the clutches, which means ‘Mother Earth’s Angel’. The wristlet is SAMAY ‘Angel of the New Beginning’.
AT WHAT POINT DID KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO DESIGN AND SELL YOUR OWN HANDBAGS? I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with great brands that gave me the opportunity to be fully creative by designing bags that represented my style, bohemian, chic and eclectic. A few years ago after continued production success, I realized that I had all the pieces, the talent and great connections to create my own collection. A couple years ago, I created my first production and sold to my private circle of close friend and family. Impressed with my work they suggested to sell publicly. At that point I decided that it would be a personal fulfillment to share my creativity with the world and have them enjoy a piece of my craft and spirituality. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my creative journey.
I LOVE THE FACT THE NAME AND THEME OF YOUR COLLECTION IS SPIRITUAL AND POWERFUL, ARE YOU SPIRITUAL YOURSELF? Yes very much such so, I practice Kundlini yoga and my religion is Karma. I work with crystals, Reiki, meditation and Color therapy. My intention is to work a line incorporating crystals into my designs. Sharing my craft is sharing a piece of me, my energy, with everyone in the world, which in its self is spiritual and powerful.
HOW DID YOU COME ACROSS THIS INSPIRATION FOR YOUR BAGS? My handbags are a combination of my likes, my life style, the mix between bohemian and chic, and my beliefs, a timeless piece of art. A bag is an investment that you make. I wanted to design the perfect bag that transcend seasons and can be worn for any occasions at any time of the day, always bringing a trendy and sophisticated touch to any outfit. The key elements are functionality, comfort, elegance, timeless, ultimately, the greatest accessory a woman can have. Smart shopping for the modern bohemian woman that is affordable and practical.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH? I mainly used leather in my collection due to my family’s involvement in the cattle industry in Colombia, and my experience in recognizing high quality and rare skins. Like such, it all starts with the material. I see an amazing material, indulge in the texture, feel senses and instantly visualize things I can do with it. Then is a combination of my product design background, the functionality, the intended user and the practicality. I make designs that are great looking but at the same time practical. For me it’s super important to know the end user of my product. I always have to know who am I designing for, my consumers. My collections are directly influenced by who and where my users would be, their needs and desires.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO ENSURE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD? The spirit my creations is to oppose mass production, I don’t mass produce. The ethos of my brand relies on craftiness and uniqueness, using high-end leather and quality, refining details and spiritual value.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHTS SO FAR? The opportunity to work with great brands that provided the backbone to “Sweet Angels” and the opportunity to collaborate with amazingly talented designers such as Amulette. Other great highlights is to see people on the street wearing my bags, my designs featured in magazines, and people talking about Sweet Angels in social media, posts, likes, etc.
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WANTING TO START UP THEIR OWN BUSINESS? I would say focus 300% on your craft and believe in yourself, set clear intentions and never give up. Know your consumer segment really well, always have it as a number one priority. Build loyalty, then people will follow you because the like your style, and your true nature.
WE’VE SEEN YOUR TALENT AND CREATIVITY IN YOUR BEAUTIFUL BAGS, WHATS NEXT FOR SWEET ANGELS? FOR JUANITA GOMEZ? For Sweet Angels a new collection is coming up Spring 2015 Made in India and an Ethnic Home Accessories Collection. Personally, I’ll be moving to New York to pursue a great opportunity that will further my creativity and my designs.
The Sweet Angels handbags, all made in Colombia, reveal with great style and simplicity how to perfectly utilize luxury leather, material and details, making this collection the perfect fit for everyone who appreciates quality and uniqueness. Another special touch that reinforces this collection’s exclusivity is the handmade charm of each bag. No two are similar; they are made of collected pieces that the designer Juanita Gomez has been collecting from all around the world for the past 10 years.
Like a signature, the charms symbolize the individuality of this beautiful collection.
Shop the collection at www.thesweetangels.com