UKFT Rise – Founder Feature with Luxury Crochet Handbag Brand ‘MOYA London’
UKFT Rise subscriber MOYA London creates sustainable, luxury crochet handbags. The brand’s one-of-a-kind designs are handcrafted by female artisans using materials such as certified organic cotton and calf leather. Before launching MOYA London, founder Moyang Yang worked with several large retailers. At the time, she noticed a lack of sustainable options in the luxury accessory market and decided to come up with a unique offering: luxury crochet handbags.
As MOYA London is firmly committed to sustainability, its bags are produced in limited editions and solely available via pre-orders. This allows the brand to avoid wastage and to maintain its products’ high quality and uniqueness.
Read Moyang’s feature with UKFT Rise below:
- Company launched in: March 2022
- Company based in: London
- How many people are in your team? Just me for now!
- My background is in… I’m a serial entrepreneur with 10 years of experience in luxury fashion and e-commerce. Before MOYA London, my focus was on consumers – helping businesses understand, reach and engage with their audience. Now with MOYA London, I also got to free my creative mind and design a product. I really enjoy both sides of the business!
- I decided to start my business because… Having worked with large retailers, I realised that there were very few sustainable options in the luxury accessories market. Most luxury handbags are made entirely from leather, which is perceived high-value, but often lacks ethical transparency. From consumers’ perspective, many luxury shoppers already own a ton of leather handbags. They are desperate for something different. So I decided to create crochet handbags – not the ones that you get on Ebay, but something modern and cool. Something that says “Yep I’m different, and that’s my beauty!”
- Something that really helped in getting my business off the ground is… As my third startup, I’ve learned to anticipate the unknown. One of the biggest mistakes I made in the past was spending too much time/budget on one thing and only to realise that there were bigger, harder challenges later on. So with MOYA London, I regularly asked myself, where the highest risks could be? And tackle those problems first. This really helped allocate resources better and make better decisions from early on.
- My biggest success so far has been… selling out our very first collection! Recognising that making a sale is much harder than manufacturing the product, I decided to go for a crowdfunding campaign to launch our brand. This gave me a chance to talk about the stories behind our brand and start selling when I only had a sample. The look of the bag instantly gathered a lot of interest, and we took advantage of the hype and asked potential customers to help finalise the product. Even our website came after we made those initial sales. But by the time we did launch our own site, it was an instant sell-out.
- An area of business I’d like to gain more knowledge of is… Growth hacking and hustling. Perhaps it’s not so much of a “knowledge” but rather a skill that I would love to practice more. The competition is so fierce these days. The usual channels, such as social media and influencers, are extremely crowded. Every brand needs to consider their own strengths and weaknesses, and explore routes that are suitable for them. It can be a constant trial-and-fail process. I’m learning as I go, but I would also like to meet people who are experienced in growth hacking. A co-founder spot is open 🙂
- A brand I find inspiring is… There are so many brands that I aspire to. To pick one, I’d say The WIP has an inspiring story that helps businesses to achieve more sustainability. As a startup, it’s important to have a strong core, which sometimes can be nothing more than a belief. But it helps navigate through the ups and downs and give you direction. Whenever I talk to Lucy, the founder of The WIP, I feel that energy from her. She has a real belief in sustainability and pushes boundaries to help people achieve that. That’s really inspiring.
- Something happening in the industry that’s inspiring me right now is… There is a wave of new technologies happening right now that create fabrics/materials for sustainability. It’s something I really love about fashion – it’s an industry full of believers and changemakers. One of the materials that I’m really excited about is a type of mycelium leather that is bio-based and can “grow” to custom designs. I think innovations in fashion’s foundation, the textiles, can radically change the future of sustainable fashion.
- One thing I wish I’d known before launching is… That running a startup brand is a continuous process of muddling through ambiguity. Before I started, I had many plans, such as “If I make X amount of pre-orders it means I can scale” or “I’ll fundraise X amount once I get to X revenue”. But a few months down the line, I realised that nothing is black and white. A number doesn’t determine good or bad, instead it’s a process of continued tweaking and improving. With this, I also learned to look after myself even at the most challenging times, rather than “pausing until things get better”.
- Success for me looks like… Success would look very different in different stages of the business. At this infancy stage, I would like to stabilise sales and win a group of die-hard customers – even if the numbers are small. I think it’s crucial that a brand builds strong relationships with its early customers as it lays the foundation for future growth
Check out MOYA London’s website:
UKFT Rise is a free-to-join community of early-stage (under 3 years trading) fashion and textile businesses looking to build a network of supportive like-minded people. We also welcome anyone who is thinking of starting a fashion/textile company in the near future.
@moyalondon is a UKFT Rise subscriber. Want to join the community? Click on the link below for more information: