Friday, February 15, 2013

{Interview with} Starlet of Meridian110

Hello friends,

I am back with an {Interview with} post, the first one for 2013. I have invited my friend Starlet, a creative individual living in San Francisco whom I have met through the Blogging Your Way e-course I took back in 2010. Starlet runs a lovely blog called Can you come home that covers everything from fashion to gardening. 

Oh, and she's also a serial entrepreneur which is one extra reason why she's here today... Let's find out more about Starlet and her handbag LABEL, Meridian110!

Meridian110 - online shop

ECS: Hello Starlet, please kindly introduce yourself, your work and how you ended up living in the US... What is your background?
Hi everyone. My name is Starlet - I am a web consultant (with a focus of User Experience) and fashion preener. I came in the US for school (I am from Indonesia), fell in love with the Bay Area, its people & innovations, and well... with my now husband... So I decided to stick around a little longer =)
I am a creative and visual person by nature. When I bought my first house, I inherited this gorgeous edible garden - which really makes me an accidental gardener. As I spent a lot of time outside, I started connecting elements in the nature with those stylish design details over the runway - like this fashionable passion fruit and wisteria.

Starlet starring a Meridian110 bag

ECS: How did you get the idea to start your very own handbag collection? Share the story behind Meridian110!
I have been drawing since I was able to hold a pen - my mother said. You will always  find my sketches and doodles on any of my notebooks. Although I had a phase of being a total tomboy with an I-don't-care-what-I'm-wearing attitude, I've quickly overgrown it and ended up designing my friends' prom dresses and my own wedding dress - I am now often to go-to stylist for my friend.

When my brother and I talked about batik and how my grand-mother was making and selling it for a living, we were inspired to "continue" her journey. So the idea of doing a derivative of a family business was invented. Since I have an unhealthy relationship with fashion accessories, we decided to take handbags as a pilot line.

I did take a wonderful shoe-making class by Prescott Mackay in Berkeley and the class really injected new perspective about shoe and accessory design in general - it challenged me to think further about translating a 2D design into a 3D product.

ECS: What is your source of inspiration for designing each collection? Where do you source for your materials?
All the materials are handpicked and sourced in Java, Indonesia - my home and the home of batik. And yes, since we want to continue our grandmother's heritage - we also happen to be a huge fan of batik, it is the main focus for each collection. The design inspiration itself comes from everywhere - nature, people, colors and batik themselves!

ECS: You mentioned that the bags were made in Indonesia, and that you are teaming up with your brother. I assume you are doing the design, and your brother is looking after the production and business side. How is it to work with a business partner? Would you qualify it as "liberating" not to have to worry about the business side? Are you more of a creative person?
It's great having a "business partner" because we are social creatures by nature and I love having someone to bounce ideas back and forth. We always discuss everything together. The cool thing is that we can split up some of the responsibilities - it makes us work in a more economical and efficient wy based on our strengths.

Lovely interior and accessories!

ECS: You have collaborated with Kaho of Chuzai Living for all of your products shoots. Tell us how it happened! (by the way Kaho, you did a great job!)
YES!! Oh my, I LOVE Kaho. She is extremely talented. We both attended BYW (Blogging Your Way) e-course and started exchanging emails. When she found out about my project, she offered her support by styling and taking a few pictures of the bags. The result is an incredibly gorgeous shot of the purses! Definitely go check out her other amazing projects on her blog.

Champagne-mango front packet bag {here
 Photograph by Kaho of Chuzai Living

ECS: What are your plans for Meridian110? Are you attending markets and international fairs, or are you keeping the size of your business small at first?
I'd definitely love to take Meridian110 to the next level - but scaling up also means more money involved - so we are doing the best we can within our budget while having fun doing it. Go with the flow, breathe and be grateful!


ECS: What are you favorite pieces in the collection? and why?
It is SO hard to say because I love each and every one of them so dearly. All of them were designed with the focus on giving the traditional batik a modern and refined twist - hence the pop of neon, colors and clean silhouette.

Find your own match online {here}!

ECS: Feel free to share any of your ongoing projects and dreams!
We have an exciting roadmap ahead - smaller items like wallets are coming. For now, I am so thrilled to share with you that we have launched the winter collection called the "Silver Sage" line. They look beautiful with any outfit and are precious gifts as well.

Grey and silver mini satchel by Meridian110 {here}
Photograph by Kaho of Chuzai Living

I also just launched a more affordable collection of bags, called A.M. (Ante Meridiem), which is basically the Meridan110's little sister. If M110 is crafted from genuine leather and hand-painted batik, A.M. offers the same gorgeousness with more affordable materials: remnant vegan leather and printed batik (all the bags are at US$80 and below). They are sold in my Etsy shop {here} and make perfect gifts!

Boho Eclectic Round Satchel by A.M. {here}

Lastly I am also working on another creative project called BonBon Paper with a dear friend of mine in the US. As the name suggest, we are doing luxury paper goods, with a sweet twist. Stay tuned!

Merci Starlet for sharing so many insights of your business! I had to share with you all my favorite bag: I am loving the Neon Club line, and the handbag below looks awesome...

Find this baby {here}!

Exciting news! Starlet is offering to all my readers*:
- a 15% discount on her A.M. line sold on Etsy with coupon code ecs15 {click here}
- US$100 off the Meridian110 collection with coupon code GALTIME {click here}

* Valid for 14 days from today 15.02.13

Thank you Starlet!!

Meridian110 {Shop} {Facebook} {Twitter}

Read all the {Interview with} posts and discover how my creative friends run their small businesses!


  1. Thank you so much for posting a few of my photos!! I appreciate your mention of my blog and name!! Hugs, hugs. Thanks for saying that I'm talented, Starlet. That's so nice of you. I love the photo of Starlet holding the purse. Great shot!

  2. What gorgeous bags and a great interview. Love the combinations of fabrics and colors Starlet uses!