WHO: Onna Ehrlich
WHAT: Accessory Designer
WHERE: Los Angeles
When did you know you wanted to be an accessories designer?
My parents are both entrepreneurs. My mother was a business woman and my father is an architect who runs his own firm. I grew up knowing that eventually I wanted to become an entrepreneur as well. I attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. I wanted to create a product that more people can have access to and use. After graduating, my business partner and I started the Onna Ehrlich accessories line.
Your bags are beautifully made, all by hand. What is your workshop like?
First, thank you so very much for the compliment. Our studio is an amazing space. It serves as a business headquarters, design studio, showroom, and factory where our handbags are made. Our studio design is very modern with high ceilings and open floor plan; my father, husband and business partner Joel influences it.
What is your favorite part about designing the collection?
My favorite part of designing the collection is research and the process itself. I love to watch the sketches come to life.
Who inspires you as a designer?
I am inspired by the women in my life as well as my father and husband who are both designers. A large source of my inspiration stems from my Nigerian heritage. I try to incorporate my Nigerian background, modern elements, and the sophistication of California in our design process.
The Dream Collection is incredible! How was the collection created?
We introduced jewelry into our collection about 2 years ago. It is influenced by timeless pieces. For our Dream collection, we kept the red carpet in mind. We wanted to create amazing pieces that are dazzling and glamorous for a special occasion.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
To me every day I get to come to work and create is an important day. There’s no shortage of highlights each day. From receiving a thank you in the mail from a satisfied client, to designing a new collection, landing a new account, down to a box of thread arriving in the mail, the highlights are constant and I consider myself lucky for all the wonderful experiences.
Your celebrity following is growing - who has carried an OE bag?
Onna Ehrlich handbags have been carried by celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Halle Berry, Mila Kunis, Rose Byrne, Eva Longoria, and many more.
What do you enjoy most about the career path you’ve chosen?
It doesn’t feel like work. I believe when you love what you do, no matter how stressful it gets, it doesn’t feel like work. I love running around, working with my team, vendors, discovering new materials, being creative, seeing and hearing from women on the street that have and love our bags. I enjoy it all!
What advice do you have for aspiring accessory designers?
Do not give up on your dreams and be ready to work very hard. There will be sleepless nights and a lot of sacrifices to be made but eventually you will get there. Appreciate every stage of the development process. From coming up with a name to designing that first, third or fiftieth accessory, appreciate it and enjoy it.