Christina Banjo, Creative Director of Christina Chi is the definition of a true #GirlBoss, her success is a true inspiration.
Mid 2012 I was sitting and having dinner with Christina, just general chit chat about what we have been up to in our lives. Christina started talking about her dream ‘Christina Chi’ she spoke with so much passion and asked me to help introduce her to a graphic designer so she could work on a logo. 2 years down the line, I am scrolling through Instagram and to my amazement I see the awesome ‘Christina Chi’ bags !
Christina Chi is a branded designer leather handbag and accessories company, based in London. They specialise in producing handcrafted leather handbags working in partnership with artisans in Spain.They believe their brand approach, story and design influences are unique enough to differentiate them from other designer handbag brands. Currently they have their collection available on their website, they also offer a made to order service for their private clients.
Name: Christina Banjo
Location: London, United Kingdom
Current title | Company: Founder and Creative Director of Christina Chi
Education: Degree (BA) Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
Website : www.christinachi.co.uk
What was your first job and how did you land it?
My first official job was a sales representative at Gap in Covent Garden, London, I was 16 and in college. I walked in one day and handed in my CV from there I went for interview and succeeded.
Have you always had a flair for fashion, why did you decide to start Christina Chi?
I have always been interested in the design process and creativity that takes place in fashion. Also whilst working in retail I loved all the brands that I worked with. These brands had an identity and it reflected in the style of their products and their customers. I wanted to develop my own brand that was a representation of me and what I’d like to see this inspiration came from working on several different brands
Despite there being so many different designer handbags in the market why did you feel ‘Christina Chi’ could compete?
Yes the designer handbag market is competitive and also highly fragmented meaning that the market is very big and there is so much scope that most top brands that you know have small market share between 5-15%. The market is still growing, in terms of consumption of luxury goods in BRIC (Brazil, Russia , India and China) countries it is still in early stages. As long as you are targeting a particular customer who shares the same tastes and company ethos there is room for new designers.
What challenges have you faced since starting this business?
I have faced several challenges along the way such as finding the right suppliers, finding the right people to support and fund the business. Also I have overcame some personal huddles such as believing in myself and pushing myself to learn new skills. But what I have learned from the process has been incredible and I would not have had this experience working for someone else in another job.
What inspires you and what keeps you happy?
My family and to achieve success, to challenge myself and always think big is what keeps me happy and motivated.
If you could go back and make any changes, what would they be?
I believe everything happens for a reason so I try not think about that. But maybe I would of wished to have the courage to set up a business at a younger age.
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Learn as much as possible, do not care what people think and never be afraid to ask.
What is the future for Christina Chi?
Future plans for Christina Chi involve introducing exciting new products, establishing ourselves as a global brand and having fun and learning along the way.
What top 3 tips would you give to femaleneurs wanting to start a business? .
1. Question yourself if you really believe in your idea, if you were to receive a life changing sum of money tomorrow would that change your idea or your plan to start the business at all? If so, then maybe you should discover what really drives the things you are passionate about.
2. Ask for advice and attend lots of networking events in your chosen field.
3. Sink or Swim, throw yourself into the deep end.
Anything else we should know?
Just to let you know about our wonderful bespoke service at Christina Chi. We work with private clients to custom make their accessory or bag.
One thing that makes you | your business ” Younique”
I’m not sure what that means but I guess the spirit of the brand and our approach.