Is there such a thing as the perfect bag? One that can do it all – carry your day-to-day essentials and take you seamlessly from office to play, from work days to date nights? A bag that can simultaneously hold all your gadgets, and leave enough room for extra gym shoes, or your baby’s diapers, or extra sanitising wipes?
Coral Chung didn’t think so. Struggling to find a bag that was luxurious in design and yet didn’t compromise on versatility and functionality, Chung set off to design her own. Launched in 2016, Senreve gained almost a cult-like following. Turns out, many of us were searching for the same functional bag.
Following incredibly successful pop-ups in the city, Senreve’s unveiled its third standalone store at the ifc mall, reimagined in pastel hues of greens, pinks and reds, showcasing the brand’s bestsellers and latest collections. We chat with Chung about entrepreneurship, researching for the perfect vegan leather and her new designs for her brand.
You’ve mentioned in the past that your first Prada bag — a gift from your father — sparked your interest in luxury and into launching your own accessories brand. Can you tell us more about what it is about fashion/ accessories that gives you joy?
I’ve always loved luxury products, fashion and design. I grew up balancing my creative side – was a dancer who loved art history – with my analytical side. I appreciate beautifully designed and high quality products because I was exposed to it at an early age. It brings joy for me because it’s inspiring, reminds me of global travel and different cultures, and there’s always an element of fantasy.
What were you doing before you got into fashion design?
I started my career as a consultant at Bain. Right before starting SENREVE, I was at a big data analytics tech company, leading the retail vertical there. The company had a successful IPO in the summer of 2019, valued at over $4B. A lot of what I chose to do and learn was because I knew that I would start my own company someday, so I wanted to have a variety of experiences that could be helpful.
What does Senreve stand for and what was your vision for the brand when you created it?
SENREVE is inspired by the multifaceted woman who does it all. It’s a next generation global luxury brand that combines versatility & beauty, tradition & innovation, and like the women it’s created for is all about dichotomies coexisting.
You’re based in San Francisco now, but you’ve spent some time in Hong Kong previously. What did you like about Hong Kong, and why in your opinion, does Senreve resonate with the ladies here?
I started my career in Hong Kong and still have many friends and former colleagues there. Prior to the pandemic, I spent time in Hong Kong every year. Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant and fashionable places in the world. I love the energy! Women in Hong Kong are sophisticated, confident, well-traveled and they really understand and appreciate beautiful products. SENREVE resonates incredibly well with women in HK because they all lead busy lives, but at the same time want to look stylish and feel organized and efficient – they’re also constantly on-the-go!
Was the Maestra bag the ultimate it bag for you? What details have you included on it to make it the go-to for you?
The Maestra really created an innovative new luxury convertible backpack category – something that didn’t exist before the Maestra. I love it because it’s so versatile and durable. I can put my laptop in the bag and it fits all of my essentials. I wear it in multiple ways, and it transitions easily from day to night – a breakfast meeting to the boardroom to cocktails and dinner at night.
Do you see a discernible difference in styles and tastes in different countries? In Asia, do people prefer using smaller purses for example?
SENREVE has become very global, and we see lots of similarities across regions, but also some differences. In Hong Kong women are generally more petite, so our smaller bags like the Alunna, Aria, and Mini Maestra do incredibly well. We also see Hong Kong women prefer beautiful neutral colors like Sand and Chestnut to the more traditional dark colors like Noir and Forest green.
Is sustainability something that is super important to Senreve? Can you tell us about how your company’s sustainable goals?
Sustainability is one of the core brand values for us. We have always focused on zero-waste in terms of only limited production. We would rather sell-out than overproduce. We also focus a lot on improving our supply chain and carbon footprint. In recent years, we have explored vegan leathers and are excited to introduce a new cactus leather in some new styles and our classic Aria bag.
One of the latest materials you’re going to introduce is a new faux leather that is made from the cactus plant. Can you tell us more about this new material?
We looked at many different types of plant-based leathers. The cactus one has the best hand feel, is supple, and durable. The process is also quite unique, no cactus plants are destroyed because they can regenerate, and they don’t have a lot of water consumption requirements or additional irrigation. There are different levels/grades of this material, and we are using the highest grade and quality version which allows us to create beautiful new shapes and styles that are soft and supple.
What new bag designs are you currently working on?
We have a lot of exciting designs in the works. The process that SENREVE goes through is very rigorous, for example the new cactus collection took about 1 year to design and develop. We continue to work on versatile, luxurious, and light-weight styles that with our Italian designers and artisans in Florence, Italy – we can’t wait to reveal more on soon!
Has the pandemic affected your work flow, your inspirations and your priorities?
The pandemic was challenging for many reasons. Personally, I used to travel regularly to Italy to work closely with our partners there as well as Asia and other countries in Europe. Everything is mostly 100% virtual now, which we’ve adapted to well, but certain things are really important to do in person as well like the creative process, photoshoots, and brainstorms.
Can a woman have too many bags?
More is more!
What’s your go-to bag choice for a full day of work and events?
I’m currently using the Butterscotch Alunna bag – it’s the soft Dolce leather and I love it! Perfect for running around because it can be worn as a backpack and crossbody. It looks great with a casual outfit or a beautiful dress. I can also fit my notebooks, iPad mini, and all my essentials.
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
Mostly in nature, hiking or hanging out with my family. I love reading a good book also, currently finishing Henry Kissinger’s autobiography.
Senreve’s ifc mall pop-up is open from now until October 31, 2021.