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Meet Olga Kholodenko of OKOhandbags in Bay Area

Today we’d like to introduce you to Olga Kholodenko.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Olga. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Ever since I was a little girl, the sound of a foot operated Singer sewing machine enchanted me. I wanted to be able to press on that pedal; so, the needle would keep moving making that sound over and over again. After creating wardrobes for my dolls, I wanted to move on to real cloths. At that time, my grandfather promised me to purchase an electric sewing machine if I complete a clothing design program for teenagers. That was a very” big deal” promise for someone growing up in the former USSR. So, I did finish that program and was rewarded with a top of the line (at that time) electric sewing machine.

After creating a variety of garments, I discovered that I was more passionate about accessories than clothing; so, after my family relocated from the Ukraine to San Francisco, I started to experiment with handbags.

In mid-2000’s I decided to share my designs with my family and friends; received numerous compliments on creativity of designs and craftsmanship; and, finally, decided to share them with all of you. That’s how Olga K. Originals was born.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Since I don’t have any formal education in the fashion industry, I had to figure out everything about the business aspect as well as materials sourcing on my own. One of the biggest struggles for me is marketing.

Please tell us about OKOhandbags.
OKOhandbags was founded to create sophisticated leather handbags, jewelry and accessories with an artistic edge from the finest custom and hand-picked materials and trims from around the world. To minimize environmental footprint all jewelry and accessories are made from leather remnants that otherwise would be wasted.

Most of the items are made to order. I’m proud to offer customization of the existing designs as well as individual product development.

Each item is carefully designed and constructed with a strong emphasis on artistry, individuality and style.

I like to collaborate with local artists and offer one-of-a-kind hand-painted leather fashion accessories.

In 2017, hard work paid off and one of the OKOhandbags design was selected as one of the finalists at the prestigious Independent Handbag Designer Awards in New York.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I absolutely loved when my family was getting together for special celebrations. I loved to set up tables, bring food out and dance. The best part was food leftovers. It made me feel like we partied for several days!


  • Jewelry start at $20-
  • Accessories start at $40-
  • Bags start at $90-

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal photo by Leon Saperstein. Photos with models by Eugeniya Pasterskaya.

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