PB: We have read that you have lived in many places. Where have you lived?
DEVI: I lived in the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Israel, France, Italy, Switzerland.
PB: Well if anything, no one can claim that you are uncultured! What other languages do you speak?
DEVI: German, French, Italian, English, and Indonesian. I spent a lot of time in Indonesia. I think Indonesia is a big reason why I am doing so many exotics. You go to the market and there are so many snake and lizard accessories. I think it stuck in my head.
PB: That is great! I know many people are looking for exotic skins now.
DEVI: Yes, but when I started my company in 2004 and was using these exotic skins it was not so common. People were not using python, you would not see it anywhere. People would look at my bags and ask ‘What is this? It is weird, I have never seen it before’. I saw a niche in this area and no one was doing it. At the time everyone was doing logos and I thought there must be a customer out there that is getting sick of all of that and wants something sleek, streamlined, and slouchy. Not to mention I was adding metallics to the bags, and no one was doing that either.
PB: Celebrity style and influence is so huge. Have you seen a huge impact on your company with celebrity exposure?
DEVI: Jessica Simpson started carrying my Classic Metallic Python Bag and people would be calling asking for the ‘Jessica’ Bag! Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Sienna Miller have worn my bags. I was really happy when Sienna Miller was spotted carrying my bags. It helped sales tremendously.
PB: So how did you get started in the fashion world?
DEVI: My background is really fashion. I was at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and one of my professors was Helmut Lang. I moved to Paris and worked in the Jewelry Square and working for brands making huge zillion dollar necklaces and so on. And then I decided to try my own company and thought people in the US would be more open to a new designer.