FASHION MANNUSCRIPT turned to Stephanie to find out more about the inspiration, the design behind Embrazio and how it all came about.
FM: When did your collection officially launch and how did you get the inspiration for your line?
Embrazio did a soft launch of initial products approximately 24 months ago and officially launched its brand via a press release to the industry in March of 2015. The inspiration for the line came years ago when I was working in telecom and using very early versions of the cell phone. How could women carry these increasingly important devices with them in an attractive way without having to lug along a big handbag? The problem simmered in my mind for years and then resurfaced and even got more challenging after I created a series of phone apps for equestrians requiring the rider’s smartphone to be with them while on horseback.
At the same time, I also noted that many of the existing accessories in the market provide a great look, a wonderful feel, or exceptional functionality but rarely did an accessory excel on all three dimensions. I just knew at that time an imaginary line of accessories would have to be excellent in all three dimensions plus, I wanted my customers to also enjoy the pleasing and rich aroma of well-tanned leather.
The results of Embrazio’s guiding principles can be seen in their supple leather bags, patented curved belts and all leather cell phone cases. They remained in place for recent additions and are basic requirements for products planned for the future ... authentic leather accessories that look and feel fantastic while also providing the functionality needed to meet the demands of a modern lifestyle.
FM: What is your background experience in fashion and/or design?
The foundation of Embrazio’s designs lies in a branch of mathematics called topology (the study of spaces), which is what I received my Ph.D. in at the University of Florida. This conceptual area of mathematics explores the boundaries of, and relationships between, shapes, forms, and spaces. I was also inspired by my mother, a master seamstress, who actually named a line of children’s clothing “Stephanie Originals” after me. In addition to sewing my design interests broadened into several architectural and interior projects while I was still working full time on new product development in the technology world. In 2009, I left the corporate world for good and started an equestrian-oriented mobile app that, oddly enough, eventually lead into starting this company -- Embrazio.
FM: What are some of the styles you have in your collections?
The collections right now include leather bags, belts, and phone cases. We currently offer four types of bags with the flagship Tasca bag coming in 20 different colors and different hardware options. The belts come in five types with multiple colors or hardware options in each type. The Embrazio phone cases come in two different styles and four different color options. We often sum up the inspirational context of its style using a quote from my daughter when she was 9 and described herself as, “Tough, so don’t mess with me, but still kinda pretty.” A bit more refined that that to be sure but the intent is to create authentic and stylish leather accessories that last and become more valued with time and wear.
FM: What differentiates your line from others on the market?
Our interpretation and differentiation lies in its equal attention to form, feel and function. For example, our patented follow the natural shape of your body meaning they create a more slimming shape, form to give an exceptional fit, and functionally they lie flat against the back versus creating the “gapping” that occurs with straight belts. At Embrazio we also place a tremendous amount of effort into collaboration and real-world prototyping (a lot of prototyping!) that separates final versions of our products from ones you’ll find from other designers. This approach to making ideas better via extensive testing and feedback is a carryover from time spent in the technology world.
FM: How would you describe your typical customer?
The Embrazio customer is an active lover and explorer of life who values excellence and recognizes and appreciates thoughtful design. She is typically college aged or older and views accessories as a key element of, and accent upon, any outfit. When choosing her accessories, our customer will first check for style and look but then dive deeper into feel and function and finally, with leather, she’ll even want to smell to the rich aroma present in well-tanned hides.
FM: What are some of the highlights of your spring and summer 2015 collections? And going forward what’s ahead for fall/winter 2015?
For fall and winter 2015 Embrazio intends to bring our a larger version of the Tasca that will fill the space between the existing version and the much larger tote. We are also excited about creating a line of attachable tassels as an embellishment option for our bags, as well as adding fringe and metallic leather options to several of our existing styles. The retain prices typically range from $30 for the smaller accessories to $350 for the higher end bags.
FM: Is the collection sold only via your website, or in stores as well?
Although we do have a presence online, our focus is to establish strong and lasting partnerships with boutiques that carry our brand. We listen carefully to the guidance given us by our boutiques as to how customers are reacting and to what new designs they would like to see.
3141 10th Street
Boulder, CO 80304