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Conversations with the Inspiring Kate Abdelmalek, Sarah Govea and Amy Fernandez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Abdelmalek, Sarah Govea and Amy Fernandez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The three of us found ourselves in a job where we felt a little creatively stifled, and eager to design our own products where we could create all the ideas that weren’t being implemented. At the same time, a friend of ours expressed how frustrated she was being a commuter in a city and having to go from work, to the gym, and to the grocery store, all while riding public transportation. It was just too difficult for her to travel with so many different bags. Why was there not an all in one solution? Challenge accepted! We set out to build our initial collection, The Fundamentals, which is a modular collection of bags built for the modern, and extremely busy woman.

We knew we wanted our brand to represent all the women who were working so hard to make it all happen in their careers and lives. So, we named our brand Canary + Co after Amelia Earhart’s first plane, The Canary. Amelia Earhart was and continues to be an inspiration, as she rejected all gender roles of the time and pushed the limits to be a woman in the field of aviation.

Now, after a few challenges, we are launching our first collection and have planned for several years of product and ideas ahead!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As with everything, there have been ups and downs! We ended up having to change our manufacturer a couple of times, to be able to get the quality and partner that we needed in order to grow. Also, being able to fund our business was another item that was a bit of a struggle. It took a lot of phone calls with business loan companies, sending cold emails to investment firms, reaching out to family and friends, and applying for every grant under the sun! As far as advice for other women, I think the best advice is to be persistent! Every problem has a solution, and sometimes you just have to be a little more creative or think outside the box to find it! And lastly, being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. It is always a risk to start a business, but if you work with the right people, and follow your passion, it can only lead to happiness greater than you can imagine!

What should we know about Canary + Co? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As a brand, we are committed to empowering women, sustainability, and clever, innovative solutions. We are able to design creative bags and products that can help with efficiency, without compromising style. We implemented a giveback program into our business model where we donate a percentage of our profits to care.org, to help fight gender inequality through business training, scholarships, and small business loans for female entrepreneurs like us! We also want to continue spotlighting women and their life paths through our social media community. And since we live in LA, it is extremely important to us to protect our oceans and land, and not contribute to the issue by adding more plastic or non-recyclable materials into the mix. We make sure our products and packaging align with this.

We are super proud of our Fundamentals collection- there is nothing like it out there! We built a modular bag (The Main Squeeze) that is able to fit our gym backpack (The Empower Pack) perfectly in the base of it while separating it from the rest of your items. We also included a wallet (V.I.Pouch) that can be used as a clutch, cross body, waist pack, or shoulder bag- it’s a perfect silhouette for any occasion or activity. One of our favorite pieces is the Kiss Me Kit, our cosmetics bag. We added in a bunch of clever features and small details into each and every piece so that our customer can continue to be surprised and always be discovering how to adapt these bags over time to their needs!

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
Our brand is named after Amelia Earhart’s first plane, The Canary, so she has truly been a huge inspiration for us as she paved the way for females in a time where being career-driven was not encouraged, especially in her field. In fact, we had the unique opportunity to interview her niece recently, which was a highlight of our lives and business! She herself is also a big inspiration, but she shared that Amelia had created a scrapbook of women who had non-traditional jobs in male-dominated fields and was always interested in the status of women. She was persistent in her goals within aviation but was also so passionate about achieving equality for women. Her niece also gave us some great advice, which was to be adventurous, try new things, and don’t be afraid to fail. Both Amelia Earhart and her niece, Amy, have been great examples of women we would love to emulate in both career and in life.

Pricing:

  • The Main Squeeze- $210
  • The Empower Pack- $70
  • The V.I.Pouch- $55
  • Kiss Me Kit- $65
  • The Triangle- $15
  • The Fundamentals Set- $360

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shauna Gutierrez, Sarah Govea

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Roberta

    July 15, 2019 at 23:38

    What a great philosophy about adventure and business! Beautiful bags and inspiring women.. Good luck!

  2. Norma

    July 20, 2019 at 00:06

    I am so impressed with the creativity and passion of these women! Best of luck!

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