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Coral Chung from Senreve on Handbag Designer 101 Podcast Every Tuesday

Emily Blumenthal



Hi and welcome to the Handbag Designer 101 podcast with your host, emily Blumenthal, handbag designer expert and handbag fairy godmother, where we cover everything about handbags, from making, marketing, designing and talking to handbag designers and industry experts about what it takes to make a successful handbag. Coral Chung, to the Handbag Designer 101 podcast. 

Coral Chung



Coral, you are the founder and creative director of Senreve. Thank you for having me, Senreve, right, it's of a French origin. What brought on that word? Well, I mean sense and dream, and the really core epitome I had when I started San Rev was I wanted to focus on a woman who really combined different things. You know it was about dichotomies co-existing. It's about being a woman who is career oriented and family oriented, who's creative but also data driven, who loves you know things that are beautiful and luxurious but also needs things in her life that work with her busy life, that actually are practical and versatile. So I really like the combination of sense and dream and this idea that you could have the fantasy with the everyday, and there's this idea that you could juggle many things and you could have opposing forces combined to create something new. So that's really the inspiration for the birthing of San Rev. 


So let's take it way back. Where are you from originally? So I actually was born in China. I was born in Northern China, manchuria, and I moved to LA when I was five. Do you remember moving, like the whole process of being here? 


Yeah, oh, I have very clear memories of a lot of these things, which is fascinating because I think it's very formative and really oh yeah kind of guides how I think about the world and how I built San Rev, but also just being really always thinking of myself as very bicultural, as a global citizen and having ties, you know, to a lot of different places in the world, then also not being afraid to go to a new place and take risks and so forth. So I feel like that was a really critical, formative experience. So my parents were both grad students and so they moved to the States when I was a baby and I was with my grandparents for a few years before they felt ready for me to integrate. That seems to be very common. I mean, I have a goal. I think during that time it was just really difficult for them because they were going to school full time but obviously they needed to take on other jobs and not to generate some income, and so they worked late every single day. 


You know my mom had random I mean she was a chemist by training and in China was a chemistry professor, but in the US, while she was going to school and learning English and so forth, she took on so many random jobs, from waitress to being a Sunday school teacher to you know, really anything that was available to her. And my dad was he was an engineer and you know he was studying computer science, but then he also became like a chef at a restaurant. So anyway, they both worked so hard, pretty much 24 seven, so it just didn't make sense for a baby to be living in that situation. Do you remember the flight coming over? Do you have an if of a memory? I remember who came with you. 


I came with my grandparents and I think what I remember most was I had a lot of expectations about the US. You know there's a lot of like sayings that I had in my mind right as a little child. I interpreted very literally, you know so. For example, you know I heard a lot about the American dream in San Francisco the Chinese way of saying San Francisco has the word golden right. So I just I all these things. And then, you know, I heard about like Disneyland and I just had this impression that, like America was so amazing, you know, and the streets were lined with gold. Everybody's dreams came true. You know, like, very, I'm like I would be living in some kind of fairy tale land. Basically, disneyland is like yeah, yeah, yeah. So that was my impression and we have high expectations like that. Of course, you know, the reality is not going to meet your expectations, especially when and you didn't speak English, did you? I didn't speak English and also my parents were, really, they were still struggling and establishing themselves. So my grandparents had a really lovely house in China with a really big yard, and they, you know, it was beautiful, they grew strawberries and they had a cherry tree, and I grew up with my cousins and it was quite, you know, it was really nice. When I moved to the US, my parents were in a small one bedroom apartment, right, you know, they had a roomie and there were cockroaches and it wasn't the nicest situation. And so I thought, wow, this beautiful land of dreams turned out to be something not so nice. 


But with your question about the flight, you know, what I do remember is landing at LAX and going to the bathroom at the airport, and I remember telling my mom at the time, oh, the bathroom smells nice. I guess they had some like I was a lie song. Yeah, they had some you know, air freshener or something like that. So that was good, that was a good thing. But then I exited the airport I was like, ooh, it's kind of smoggy and yeah, where is the Disneyland? Right, right, right. So that was my first impression. 


And then I started preschool and then kindergarten and not knowing English was obviously a really hard adjustment. I guess when we were at the first year of school I was really thirsty but I didn't know how to say water, so I was just kind of like trying to explain to the teacher, you know. So that was also a big adjustment. But again, it just informed my risk profile and just my resiliency and I think it was really ultimately a critical experience in my life. 


Were there other Asian kids in your school? There were, yeah, there were, but nobody spoke Mandarin to me, right, yeah, and I think my parents were very keen on me learning English quickly, so they just put me in a foul environment. Yeah, to do what I want English. But I mean, you know what's interesting is, of course, as a five year old, you learn things so quickly. Yeah, within a few months I was speaking English fluently. I was reading books, I was. You know, it's just incredible how quickly children can learn, and so at that degree, in the last one, you know she's going to forget how to speak Chinese, right? So they got worried and started sending me to Chinese school after school and tried to immerse me in more Chinese culture. 


Make sure you have as much homework as possible, so yeah, and like learn math, you know, and whatever things like that. But I was, I remember I was requesting to eat McDonald's and all the you know, get a happy meal and stuff like that. And then they realized, wow, she's really getting immersed so quickly that we need to do a better job of retaining our roots. Yeah, retaining the different cultural not just the language, but really the cultural elements that make her tie to her roots. Right, so they really emphasize eating Chinese food and watching. You know I watch the news every day, right, I watched the show you soap opera and all of that right, which I enjoyed, and so I think that really helped me retain my interest and also my language capability. 

Emily Blumenthal



Was there an expectation? 

Coral Chung



that you needed to be a high achiever, Absolutely. You know I'm an only child and so I think my parents are very yeah, they had extremely high expectations. You know, everything had to be perfect, Everything had to be the best there was, really. But I also didn't. I know some people rebel against that I did not. I kind of adapted to that expectation and I performed. You know, I was very high-achieving throughout my childhood and I didn't have this experience of saying, well, no, I don't want to do that. 

Emily Blumenthal



Right, right Right. 

Coral Chung



Except, you know, I ultimately had to quit piano because I wanted to focus on dance, but basically, everything I pursued, I really pursued with excellence. It was 110% Plus I was a first-year student with excellence, yeah, and I think that was tough, you know, and it was a lot of pressure, and I think, as a first-generation immigrant, you always understand the struggle and the sacrifices that were made, and so I always feel, or responsibility, I always feel that it was natural that I, you know, perform with excellence, and also my parents are very busy, right. So it was the type of thing where, if I wanted them to come to a performance, right, I better be having a solo and better be performing in an excellent way, like, for example, in dance or something like this, right, and my parents are very, you know, they're very discerning, they're very crippled, they have a high bar about everything, and so I was just used to always getting that type of feedback. Are you like that as a mom now? Do you think, or are you a little bit more? I try to be more balanced, I try to be more balanced, but, you know, I think, ultimately how you grow up is how it's like deeply seeded in you, and so I have to catch myself and not just do that right, I have to consciously change directions, you know, and it requires a lot more effort versus just letting your subconscious kind of take over and do what you feel is natural. So sometimes, like I have to do things that don't feel as natural with my daughter. 


But you know my 10 year old, I have a 10 year old and a two year old and my 10 year old is incredible. You know, she's an athlete, she's a dancer, she dances with San Francisco Ballet. She was young Cinderella in their, you know, professional production last year, right last season. So she's dancing at a level that is much more than me as a 10 year old, because we have different access to resources and things like that that my parents didn't right, right, and she's. You know she's the competitive big mountain skier and you know it's one of the top steers in North America at her age level. And again, that's you know, something that I never had exposure to as a child. My parents just didn't have access and resources to that. But I tried to focus on it being San and interesting for her and challenging. But you know, I do think like, yeah, there's pressure for her to be really competitive If she said I don't think I want to dance anymore. 


Would you be like that's okay, I get it, let's just focus on something else? Or would you be like, okay, no, you've committed, let's see this through? You know, it's interesting that you bring this up because I think it's a very topical thing. You know, I think as she evolves, you know, she's kind of entering that pre-teen phase, right, yeah, and so I think a lot of things will change. Actually, previously she was very good at Kung Fu and actually when she was five years old, she was like sort of the five and under champion in the Kung Fu, you know. And so it's so funny because sometimes, like, we'll see her trophies at home and my husband will lament like, oh, she was so talented, she could have gone so far. 


But you know she decided that she didn't want to continue doing that. Because you know, the reality is in that, or as you progress, you have to do a lot of it's like six days a week. It's insane. Well, you have to do a lot of sparring also, and she didn't like just beating other people up and getting beat up. I mean, she just didn't like it. You know, she liked doing the four, and the more you know, the more dance oriented aspects of it in some ways right. And so she just said you know what? I know that if I progress, half the time someone will be beating me up and the other time I have to beat someone else up and I don't want to do that. So we decided that she wasn't going to do that anymore. So that didn't happen and you know, covid changed a lot of things too. She was playing musical instruments and we have a beautiful piano in our home and we moved to we had relocated during COVID to Wyoming and-. 


I saw that. I know that was a joke. That was a joke. Well, we didn't have a piano there. You know we got a keyboard and you know it's interesting. She just really lost interest and she stopped playing. And my husband is very musical, my daughter's name is Aria, you know, like my two daughters have very musical names Aria and Tatens and you know it's really important in our family, and so she stopped playing piano and that was sad. But you know it is what it is. 


I think it's too difficult to force something right, and so I kind of believe in intuition and the natural flow of things. And so to your question about Dan's if she were to say that for me, I think the conversation we would have is probably similar to you. It's like, hey, we've committed to this period of time, or this year, see this out, but at the end of this year we can reevaluate, or at the end of this commitment, whatever. That is right, and we can reevaluate whether or not you want to recommit, if I can, because all of this is a very interesting segue into what you've done and you know giving this 110%, I know you went to Penn, right, you have to be pretty smart to get in. 


Some say I'm assuming you had your act together. You were pretty solid. You go into finance correct. 

Emily Blumenthal



Of some description. 

Coral Chung



Talk a little bit about, you know, going there, getting your degree and then getting your MBA from Stanford, and how all of that led to you becoming and falling into handbags. Because you know, I told you like I started my handbag brand when I was getting my MBA and that was something even for my parents that was a difficult thing for them to understand, like here I am. You know I was fortunate enough they paid for school. For me, getting that extra degree with my family was really important. And here I am, having the opportunities all over the place and I was like I think I'm gonna start a handbag brand. I have an idea, I have a concept, I have it all mapped out. I did all the work in business school. This is how I'm gonna do it. So how did your formative work years take you to San Rev? I think what is really interesting is I feel like my path makes a lot of sense. You know it's so interesting because from the outside, when you describe it the way that you describe it, it's kind of like whoa. 


It seems so on face, like how would you like yeah right, but actually it's very interesting how logical and methodical, cohesive it is. Yeah, so you know, I always had this very bicultural upbringing and I felt that I was always interested in international business. So my parents became after grad school. They had a few other jobs but they ultimately became entrepreneurs, right? So they went from technical, academic people to entrepreneurs and had various entrepreneurial ventures and so, again, as an only child, I was immersed in that and so I think that was deeply seated in me, that someday, you know, I would start a company, and you know I don't know what it is, but it's just like so natural. You knew there is not a lot of fear around it. And it was not always at the top of my consciousness, right, it was sometimes very far away, but it was just always there. Because, you know, I think as again, as an adult, when I reflect back on that, I feel like what a unique experience. 


But during that time I didn't think anything of it. That was just my life, that was my childhood. I would go into the office with my mom, I would ghost write emails for my parents. You know, when I was 10 or 11 years old I would write like emails to partners or lawyers or whatever, because you know I was a native English speaker, right, and it's so funny, I'd like Lauren had to write these business deal ideas, sir, and not a cold Awesome, like you know. At the time, again, I was just like, oh, this is fun, this is normal. It was so natural like, okay, this is what I do after school, and good at work. 


Yeah, this is what I do, you know. Again, like I remember being a teen, you know, on the phone negotiating with a Partner that was, you know there was a frustrating situation and helping with that negotiation, right, I don't know if the other party knew like the situation, but I do remember one time Someone was on the phone with me and they were like are you 12? It was like no, I'm 13. So, anyway, that was just an NPS big difference between 12 and 13. So respect, respect, yeah, yeah, it's give me some respect, yeah, come on. 


And so my parents because I was an only child, they didn't have childcare and even like that they they brought me to every business function, you know, business meetings. I traveled with them, I was just immersed, right, and kind of it created some interesting Opportunities for me. Like I was never afraid to interact with adults, right, right, I didn't have a sibling, so I was mostly interacting with adults. I was mostly interacting with people who are older than me and I would get these business dinners, and back then we didn't have Devices and stuff, so sometimes I read a book, but most of the time I was highly engaged. I was talking about and I actually Understood what was happening and I remember you know I was networking, you were networking, yeah, that's it. I realized I was right. I was right and I, and so I remember there was one dinner that I went to and and it's so funny because I think to be adults at this dinner they probably just felt like I was some kind of novelty Masked type with you know, you'd provoke me, right, like you would maybe question, they would be like, I mean, literally sometimes they would be like, oh, I heard you dance, can you do a dance for us right now in the middle of dinner, and I would be like, sure, but so it just gave me a lot of resilience. 


But one time I remember this guy I think he was being kind of a noxious, that he was just asking me all these questions. He's from China and he was asking me like, oh, what's so great? Was that in Chinese? Yeah, yeah, he was like what's so great about being in America? And you know I was explaining these things to him and he's like but you know, ultimately you're born in china, so you're not really American, you can't even run for president, right? I remember he was challenging me and this is this. 


I was really little. I think I was like nine years old or Maybe. Yeah, I was definitely like younger than teen years. I was maybe nine years old, maybe 10 years old, right. So I just had a really snappy response. I was like, what are you talking about? You know, we could change the constitution, you know. And so he was really impressed by that, unlike china. So, yeah, exactly exactly. But like it was so interesting, he's so impressed by that that, I guess, like a year or two later, I remember he had one of those really cool folding cell phones or something like that, and I just was playing with it or I just said, oh, that's so cool and whatever. 


And so, anyway, a year later, my dad gave me a present and it was from this guy and he said, you know, I was so impressed by her interaction. I had a little note that was like, oh, here's a present for the little girl who wants to change the constitution. So how cool is that? Right? It's like these experiences that were totally ad hoc, right. And again, even that interaction at the time I didn't think was special Anything, love it, you know. And I was just like cool, he gave me a present, you know. But now that I think about it I'm like, wow, that's really cool, right, yeah, yeah. But, old kid, I did something. It was a memorable action and, you know, he kind of thought about it a year later and whatever got me. So I just had many Experiences like that that made me feel like someday, you know, I would be a business person, I would be straddling multiple cultures and being an entrepreneur, and so when I went to Penn and Wharton, I actually had a very clear vision for what type of training and what type of experience I want to have in college for that. 


And so I did this program at Penn and Wharton called the Huntsman program. It's a dual degree program. It's only for around 30 to 40 students every year. You have to have a language that you're essentially a native speaker of, other than English, and so that's a very difficult requirement, right, yep, yep. So it's very specific and a very competitive program, but super international and really eclectic group of students and amazing, you know, high quality students in my year was like Inappropriate and that's a lot sexier than that was student. And of course I mean of Stuyvesant, you know, I mean very Right, and I remember I showed up just a girl from California and feeling so intimate Like I didn't really know finance and investment thinking right. I remember some of the boys were like you didn't even know what golden sax things like. Why are you here? 

Emily Blumenthal



If you ever wanted to start a handbag brand and you didn't know where to start, this is for you. If you had dreams of becoming a handbag designer but aren't trained and designed, this is for you. If you have a handbag brand and need strategy and direction, this is for you. I'm Emily Blumenthal, handbag designer expert and handbag fairy godmother, and this is the handbag designer 101 master class. Over the next 10 classes, I will break down everything you need to know to make, manufacture and market a handbag brand, broken down to ensure that you will not only skip steps In the handbag building process, but also to save money to avoid the learning curve of costly mistakes. 


For the past 20 years, I've been teaching at the top fashion universities in new york city, wrote the handbag designer bible, founded the handbag awards and created the only handbag designer podcast. I'm going to show you like I have countless brands to create in this in-depth course, from sketch to sample to sale. Whether you're just starting out and don't even know where to start or begin, or if you've had a brand and need some strategic direction, the handbag designer 101 master class is just for you. So let's get started and you'll be the creator of the next it bag. Join me, emily Blumenthal, in the handbag designer 101 master class. So be sure to sign up at emilyblumenthalcom slash master class and type in the code Oncast to get 10 off your master class today. I had one of those experiences when I had a fly back interview with Oppenheimer. 

Coral Chung



Yeah, and my roommate was a bba student at michigan and she was getting they called them fly backs because they would fly you to yes, yeah and so and yeah, and they put us up in the hotel and all this very cool stuff. And you know, at the beginning they had the round table and I was looking around and I'm like, oh my god, I am the only one who has not started a non-for-profit isn't subsidizing my family, you know, has it? It's like just me, you know. I'm like, oh, I work for the michigan daily. I make a lot of money in advertising for them, you know, and they're like and I said, okay, you could just go to the next person. 


So I get it not the same, but I totally to get it where you're like. So, oh, I just feel I had a chip on my shoulder and I remember, again, the boys used to say, well, you know, not like, all the pretty girls from california concentrate in marketing, right. And so I was very determined to be like I'm going to take all the hard finance classes, right, you know, I'm going to concentrate in finance. The huntsman program is a dual degree, so I was getting two degrees, you know bachelor of science and bachelor of arts, and you know, all in four years Plus a study abroad. So it was like a lot. So I took on a lot in college. But again, it's this, you know, I was just, I wanted to pursue excellence. I also Didn't like that people were telling me you that, yeah, or just, sometimes it was very over and sometimes it's quite subtle, right. 


Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. You know, my first internship I was the only young lady in that group and just the culture was very, very, it was very interesting, you know, and it was very exclusive, it was very clear, like a boys club, you know, just toxic, adjacent, all the things that they would do for the interns. It was like go paintballing, you know, it was just like a yeah, yeah, yeah, chastaster on driven activities and also like sometimes I was excluded. Like after dinner they would go cups and I was well invited right now. 


I was so naive I would be like, oh, I wouldn't be chilling. And they're like, no, you should just yeah, yeah, or I go back in there, let's go back to the office and finish that financial model. And you would go, I would. I would, because I was always, like you know, wanted to get that eight plus right. I remember my boss at the time. I literally would hand him in some work and then he would write it A and I was like, can I get an eight plus plus? I'm like, can I give you a sticker? 

Emily Blumenthal



Oh my God, and you were thinking, maybe as long as everybody else can see, because I came back and you guys didn't. 

Coral Chung



So there's that. So, anyway, after that experience, though, I realized I just didn't love that culture and I thought the work was interesting, but not that interesting, and I learned a lot, and that's always how I approach things. It's like, you know, it was more for the experience and for learning, not necessarily, like you know, 20 years from now, that's what I wanna do with my life. I also felt like there weren't really any true mentors for me and again, I kind of look at you know who are the senior people and what is their life like, and remember, at the end of the summer, they took me out to a fancy lunch. You know, kind of like yeah, yeah, yeah, the fancy lunch, and you know the quarter table at this fancy lunch and he drove me in his you know fancy Porsche 911. And he's like isn't this amazing, like this is the life you could have? And I was nodding like, oh, interesting, not really. I mean, like that's not really like good for you. Yeah, great, great, yeah, that's not really exciting to me. 


So, anyway, I ended up graduating and going into consulting and working in Hong Kong, and that was really one of the best experiences of my life. You know, it's exactly what I wanted to do in terms of being in a very diverse global environment. You know Hong Kong at the time it was right before the Beijing Olympics it was really trying to open up. All the new businesses were growing, but also the multinational conglomerates for established and co-porters there, and so I just worked on such interesting things. It was a really dynamic team. I was working in English and Mandarin really on a daily basis and also traveling throughout China. Well, you know, I was based in Singapore for a period of time, taiwan for a period of time, and so, as a 22 year old, that was really the best experience. You know it was hard and I worked so much. 


And I remember in Hong Kong housing you know people complained about New York or San Francisco. I mean, the housing in Hong Kong is insanely expensive, and so living in this tiny little studio apartment it was so small that and I always loved fashion, right so I had a lot of clothes and shoes and stuff that I had to put on my suitcases in my shower, so I had to shower at the gym. I read my eyes. I totally know it was like that, right, I couldn't, just I had no space. And then I remember I was working so hard. I walked home at nine maybe at 2, 3 am from work in the office and my dad is like it's like 3 am. I was talking to him on the phone and he's like it's time for you to fire that. You know, yep. How did all these experiences, though, get you to handbags, because I understand the path and you know, working at Bain and everything you've done is so. 

Emily Blumenthal



I don't want to say textbook, because it's so minimizing. 

Coral Chung



And that's not what your career has been, because everything you've done has been like, so top of the top, so like this is what high, achieving, very successful person does, right. Everything you've done was like you have to be not only lucky but extremely smart, extremely hardworking and very much like I'm pushing everything aside because I can do this and no one can tell me not to. How did all of those experiences get you to say, ok, now I'm going to start a handbag rant? I really think that it's something that I was always interested in and curious about, felt there was opportunities and handbags in the market, but it was more just that I really felt the need to have more experiences, more training, build up my resume and, to your point, I was almost like collecting things for my resume, you know, like skill sets yeah, skill sets, but also like logos and brand names to a degree. Right, yeah, and so, anyway, after being, I worked for a couple of startups and I really enjoyed that experience. I thought it was so interesting, I was so motivated and excited and it just felt like it was so tangible and I was making an impact, and so that gave me this instinct of like, oh, I think I could do that too right. 


And I also started meeting other founders and I realized that, you know, sometimes they just had a business background, like myself, where they were ex-consultants and just saw this opportunity and started this company. It wasn't the type of thing where they had specific technical expertise or they had specific industry knowledge. They just had an instinct and maybe one of you that was differentiated. And so I just felt like, you know, that's something that I have too. 


And so I ended up going to Stanford for business school and during that time I really got more into luxury retail and started to think about that as more of a business opportunity as opposed to a passionate interest, and I met some great mentors in the space and ultimately had an internship at Prada and that was a really formative experience. And again, I just realized through that experience there was so much opportunity in the e-commerce, digital, direct-to-consumer model in the handbag category itself. Were you sketching now Like? Was there something that, with all like, while you were working for these companies? Were you like, ok, I like this silhouette? This material speaks to me, you know, because a lot of creators like us. 

Emily Blumenthal



You know what's the narrative and the origin of creating a handbag to an over saturated market. 

Coral Chung



What can you do that nobody else is doing? What price point can I hit at? I mean all the why's, but like, decidedly, it always goes back to I am missing something that I need. This is what I'm missing. This is what I would like to do with this handbag Like, were you feeling all those feelings? And like this is what I think my hero bag or my anchor piece would look like. 


Were all those things speaking to you while it was like starting to percolate, it really started with the woman and her lifestyle Right, and started with this idea of like, what does a woman need in her life that's so critical to her? And that's when I started to think more about the bag. And, to your point, I was thinking about why haven't I found the perfect bag? You know I've been in fashion, I've. You know I'm a very savvy consumer. You know why am I not aware of what's out there? And it did start with that. And I think what happened actually was it really happened, you know, very instinctively and intuitively, but how, and also not even being risk averse, considering what your background was about. Yeah, so how Sandra started was I was at a conference, I was speaking at a conference in New York and at the time I was working for a tech company, big data analytics company, very successful company that later went public and so I knew it was going to go public. I was leading the retail vertical there. So my clients at the time were, you know, major brands, major retailers, et cetera, ranging from Norture to Apple and Sephora, nike, et cetera. And during the panel I was speaking and I had this crazy out of body experience where I was, like you know, myself speaking to me saying why are you still at this company? You have so many ideas, you have such a strong point of view Like you really need to be speaking about those ideas at this juncture, right. 


And so on the flight back, that's like a movie, yeah, I was kind of like that. But on the flight back in New York to San Francisco, I just for that entire, you know, five and a half, six hour flight, I just wrote the entire business plan for a second. Yeah, you know, they say on flights you should never, ever sleep because of the altitude. It actually gives you a level of clarity that is like almost superhuman that you're able to write things at almost a exponential rate that you could when you were on the ground, like I've written books on a flight, like, oh, look at this, I mean whatever A book. But I've actually never heard that before. Yeah, they say that's why you're so much more productive on a flight. So it actually tracks that. 


You were able to see this through from start to finish, like OK, and this is what it would look like, and here's the customers, and here's where it would sell, and here's the prices and so forth. So you came home, were you with the company when it went public? No, so that was a really hard decision because I wanted to start Sunrub, but I also had stock options and I knew it was going to be worry-free and so I had to walk away from that. But basically what happened was I started executing different parts of the business plan and Sunrub was sort of nights and weekends and I was still working at this company at the time, and so after about six months of that, I realized Sunrub had potential and it was real. 


And so had you found a sample maker? Had you found a manufacturer? Had you found? I started exploring this and again, I started meeting different people in the industry and getting introductions to people, and so I got some introduction to sample makers and things like that. But had you have them done domestically, your first samples? So at that time I didn't actually execute on the samples yet. I left my full-time job and then I started working on them. 

Emily Blumenthal



You had the process and order of operations mapped out and then it was like, ok, now I just need to figure out and make the product, and then I'm set. 

Coral Chung



Yeah, yeah, and I did some market testing and consumer research and things like that. Can I just excuse you, just to interrupt, and I'm sorry. What you're just saying is the case study that I always speak to. That homework is free. Research is mostly free, but mapping out the product, the who, the why and everything is always the way to go before you spend any money on actual product, because at least when you actually get to that point, you have it almost so narrowcasted and down to a science as to. 


This is what it looks like, this is who it is. I've already done my market test research. All I need to do is get the physical bag in their hands to validate what they already said. So not that I need to say I applaud this, but it just like that's how it's supposed to be done. Yeah, and I think the reason I was able to do that had a lot to do with my prior experiences. I had a lot of training, business training and my network, my relationships, so all of these really factor into how things were started and the momentum I was able to generate in the early days. And then was there anything that, once you hit the launch button, was there? 


anything that coming from your background, seeing your parents do what they've done. Was there any fear? Or? 


risk of failure Because you can't be 110%, you can't overachieve with something that is so many factors are now officially out of your hands, like things go wrong that you can't control. How did you handle those situations? Yeah, I think there were a lot of challenging situations. So we started by doing some domestic sampling and then I went to Italy a lot and also at that time I had a 3 and 1 half year old, four year old child. So it was so hard, it was a lot, and my husband actually decided to want. He was a investor at a large Silicon Valley firm and he decided to launch it on fund and so we were both kind of doing entrepreneurial things with a small child and I was traveling all the time. He was traveling all the time. So there were so many things about how that time was really difficult and out of control to a degree, and so I think, yeah, you just have to manage through the chaos. 


I think back on that time and sometimes I think it was quite fun. I think the time before you launch is really precious because it's just sort of like it's your baby, it's your idea at that time. You don't have all the different obligations that you do after it becomes materialized. So I actually look back and really enjoy that time. But I took a lot of time to learn the business, to learn the industry, to learn the technical aspects of creating the bag, the design in and out. So I took about a year, a full year, to do that before we launched. 


So that was countless factories in Asia and the US and Italy and ultimately I felt like Italy had really the hand and quality that I wanted and were you able to interact with the factories in an educated way, because that's always a tricky step, because if you show up green, they treat US such and you get charged as such. So well, that's why I did a lot of pre-work, sampling and whatnot in the US. I just again had countless meetings, different individuals, groups. I just at that point, was really up the learning curve and knew to ask the right questions and I knew enough. I was up the learning curve at that point. So I think that's one of those takeaways where it's important to do your homework and do that pre-work. Yeah, 100% of the time it feels like a waste of time or it's going slower than you would like, but for me it always ended up being useful. It was never wasted time. It was time that I needed to learn all of this. Yeah, yeah. So where is Sand Rev today? 

Emily Blumenthal



And where do you want it to be in the future? What is Big Picture Sand Rev for you, Coral. 

Coral Chung



What would be the mapped up plan that you already have for it Because I'm sure it already is in terms of you know it's so interesting Because you have all this data and analytics and reality sometimes hits and it forces you to pivot. And pandemic happens that forces you to pivot. 

Emily Blumenthal



So where has all of this taken you and what do you want for the? 

Coral Chung



future, yeah, it's really crazy. And being in Wyoming comma, that is why it's really crazy the pandemic being in Wyoming, having another baby, all of these things are crazy things. That like grows at you and I think for me I just have a really open mind about it and I'm very optimistic that I always have an optimistic outlook on things and when something bad happens, I always think about how well it's more interesting drama for the book later, right? Yes, this appendicitis episode that I just had will make it into the book. Oh, my god, you need a bag that's the shape of an appendix. I can't wait. 


So why to come out? Well, it's funny because one thing that I realized is I generate a lot of energy from being creative. I'm such a creative person and part of that was suppressed during my upbringing because I wanted to be on that academic quantitative path. But I actually am very creative. So I did a painting and I commemorated it by calling it the appendix. So there will be a pundit on that level called the appendix hanging in my office. That's amazing. So anyway, it's not literal, it's a very abstract painting. I am assuming in it and excluding appendix is quite abstract. I had someone come look at it, to brain it, and that person was like, oh, is there a painting of a waterfall? And I was like, oh, that's so interesting, thank you, but anyhow. 


So the vision for Sunrath is really for Sunrath to be an iconic global brand. That's really what I've always wanted. I really want it to be just an impactful and valuable brand and product in a woman's life, you know, operate at a scale that's really meaningful and impactful and continue to bring really beautiful and luxurious and versatile products into the world. We have a really high bar for every product we bring in. You know, it needs to have a unique place. It's so thoughtful and considered and every single detail, and I think that's really our philosophy. 


And I think it's also hard, you know, with the pandemic, with all the things that have happened. It's been a difficult journey, but I do think that it's very rewarding and super fulfilling and there's nothing that makes me happier or more excited than to see someone, a stranger, you know, wear one of our bags at a restaurant or at the airport or wherever, or chase them down. I don't stop, just stop, oh, really. And then sometimes people would, and there is one time I was in Philadelphia and I was at a museum and there was a woman I was wearing an Aria bag and there was another woman with her child wearing an Aria bag and she came up to me and was like, wow, you know so funny. And so were you like, and then here's my Aria, right over there and it's just so fun. 


You know, I find that to be so rewarding and I love the tangible nature of the products. I really love the development process and how creative that is. But I also understand, you know, running a business is you have to wear many hats and you have to do things that sometimes don't play to your strings or not the most fun things, but that's all part of the job, you know. Or, you know, do things that are really difficult, make difficult, difficult decisions, you know that's also part of the job. So I am enjoying the journey, even though there are a lot of hard parts to it. 


And I do think that what CENRA can become and continue to develop into is, you know, it'll be always a product driven brand. But I want it to have that lasting power, you know, and that lasting impact. And I think, you know, as the woman evolves, we have evolved right, we talked about our brand and our brand values and our brand story, and what is it that we're doing for this woman that we want to serve, you know, how are we making her life more inspired, or how are we making her day happier, or how are we making her a little bit more empowered to have her products in her life? So that's something that's always constantly top of mind. And the other thing I find very fulfilling is working with a team of mostly women who are very passionate, very creative, very energetic, and I derive a lot. 


Are they in Wyoming now or they're still in California? Well, we have a virtual team. Most folks are in New York or California, but we have folks in Lake Denver and Virginia. I have a small team in China. I mean, we're very spread out, right, and I myself, you know, spend a lot of time in New York. That's where the appendix situation happened and that's why I've been decked in the. You should have told me I would have brought you a sandwich, but thankfully, you know, in White U Hospital. It's a really great hospital, yeah, so definitely the one, the one where you want your appendix to accidentally explode. It was really top-notch with the whole care. But yeah, I just had you calm, I guess you can. No, that's really funny that you asked that, because the only other person who asked that was my mom. 


She's like listen, do you get in a cooler to bring it home? And I was like, listen, she and I, I get her, I feel her, I respect her, we're on the same page. Listen, if she made you, then honestly she knows what she's doing. So how to find you? Were you one of the women who took the placenta home and, like, turned it into a pill? No, because it's disgusting, in my opinion. My husband was very kind to take pictures of it because he thought that was funny and I was like, absolutely not. But by the third kid, like I told you, I asked them to weigh the bowl, weigh the placenta. I really wanted to know how many pounds I was off, including the baby, because I was like I know the baby, but this was a long time and that placenta looked hardy. So I I told them my placenta there must have been at least 25 pounds, cause I was hoping to lose like 10. After we were said and done. They're like it was like an ounce something. I felt very, very shortchanged. It was so rude. 


Coral, how can we follow, learn more, become more sandwrap stands, talk to us. How can we get our hands on those beautiful bags? Well, we love community building and really, you know, I find women who love our products. They're all very naturally connected to each other. So I love that, you know, and so please follow us on social at sandwrap. Visit our website at sandwrapcom. You can chat with us. You can reach out to us anytime at hello at sandwrap. We're always engaging in a dialogue. We're so feedback-oriented and we do, as a team, listen and talk about. You know everything that people share comments and direct messages and things like that so we love all of that. So please be in touch and reach out and look us up. Follow us on Instagram, on TikTok, etc. Every platform. And that's S-E-N-R-E-V-E Correct S-E-N-R-E, s-e-n. Damn, I blew it. That's what I meant. S-e-n-r-e-v-e Fabulous Coral. It has been an absolute joy. I'm so happy we are connected. Next time in New York, you must find me. 

Emily Blumenthal



We will absolutely go out and I'll bring you that sandwich. 

Coral Chung



Sounds amazing. 

Emily Blumenthal



Thanks for listening. Don't forget to rate and review, and follow us on every single platform at Handbag Designer. Thanks so much. See you next time. 

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