We had the good fortune of connecting with Viola Sutanto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Viola, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I come from a family with over 4 decades of experience in the luxury bags business, so I have a lifelong appreciation of the beauty and quality of high-end craftsmanship and materials. But the price points felt elusive to me, and many other working women. I saw a need for beautifully designed, well-made everyday bags from sustainable materials and sought to fill that gap in the market with the launch of MAIKA.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am the founder of MAIKA where we create thoughtfully-designed, sustainably-made bags and accessories for women on the go.
My path to entrepreneurship, in retrospect, was not surprising, having come from a long line of self-made entrepreneurs in my family. However, my passion for design did not fully emerge until I started attending evening art classes purely out of boredom during my stint in the banking industry. Those classes opened up a new world for me—I had found my calling in the creative field and have not looked back since.
Prior to MAIKA, I worked with some of the best branding firms in the San Francisco Bay Area, then started a hybrid and product design agency. Initially our core offering was doing branding work for retail clients ranging from Design within Reach, Peet’s Coffee and Chronicle Books, but as we expanded to licensing and product design, I realized I had found my sweet spot in designing stylish everyday products that are both functional and bring joy.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ll preface this by admitting I haven’t been exploring very much this past year, given the pandemic! But for what it’s worth, here it goes.
• The Ferry Building in San Francisco is a culinary heaven. Saturdays mornings are my favorite time to grab coffee and brunch, and shop for produce at the bustling farmers’ market there. Taking a walk along the waterway afterwards, overlooking the Bay Bridge never gets old.
• Almond and Oak in Oakland is our go-to brunch spot.
• Land’s End in San Francisco is a favorite hiking trail. Spectacular views of the ocean, amidst rocky cliffs and shaded by greenery. It’s the quintessential foggy san francisco postcard come alive:) Bring a jacket!
• Favorite neighborhoods to walk around: Mission and Hayes Valley
• Exploring the running and bike trails in Marin (so many!) is also fun. And kid-friendly.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Being a Tory Burch fellow has been instrumental in keeping me focused on my business during these turbulent times. It’s been wonderful to learn and scale alongside some amazing women entrepreneurs who are not only smart, but also so supportive of one another.
Instagram: @maikagoods, @chewingthecudagain