This new store lets customers pick and choose key accessories to customise their bags, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup
THE O bag from Italy is a recent arrival to Malaysia following the opening of the O bag store at 1 Utama.
It has bags in several designs and sizes, with multiple colour choices. The bags are made from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), a rubber-like material that is hardy, water-proof and easy to clean.
But the O bag’s main draw is that it can be customised, through the choice of handles, zipped inserts and other accessories.
“O bag is a design-focused brand. It is innovative, versatile, playful and colourful. All products are created with the intention for them to be personalised with interchangeable accessories,” says Shannon Chua, director of Halo Retail, the brand’s sole distributor in Malaysia.
“It allows individuals to express their personality by offering them a variety of choices to coordinate, to mix and match in order to create quirky styles and unique combinations,” she adds.
WALL OF BAGS
Upon entering the store at the Old Wing of the shopping mall, it is hard not to notice the wall of bags on the left side of the retail space.
There on a black wall are several rows of the O bag mini in various colours. It serves as a visual interest but more importantly, helps the customer decide on a colour.
“Colours can change according to season, although there are mainstays like black, navy blue and ivory,” says Elaine Chua, also a director of Halo Retail during the store’s official launch.
“This Spring/Summer season, we have strawberry, terracotta, apple green and aqua blue.”
“The store had been open for several weeks now and we’d thought that black and navy would be the most popular. But it’s actually the reds, the yellows and whites that are selling very well.”
Elaine attributes the more daring choice of hue to the O bag’s price point.
The body of the O bag mini is priced at RM289. Adding the handle, which is sold separately, will take it to more than RM400, which Elaine believes is a reasonable price for such a product.
“If you were to think of a white leather handbag that is RM3000, you’re probably a little hesitant. But at this price point, you don’t mind being a bit adventurous,” she says.
CAN YOU HANDLE IT
Most of the handles for the O bag are made of faux leather and they come in two lengths; long and short, with several designs available.
There’s also a version made of jute that comes from the season’s Riviera collection.
The handles are attached to the bag by what is essentially a large screw. The setup can be done in store but it’s also simple enough for the customer to tinker with at home.
Once assembled, the bag looks just like any other bag with a sewn handle.
“In the long run, the O bag can be quite cost-saving,” says Elaine.
“For most of us, when we use bags, the handle would wear out first. But we still need to replace the entire bag. In this case, you can just buy a new handle.”
Other accessories for the bag include a zipped insert to store the wearer’s belongings more securely – the bag itself is open at the top like a shopper bag with no clasps or closures. There’s also the trim, which is a piece of fabric that goes over the side of the bag for a more stylish appearance.
Meanwhile, the O bag 50 design is big enough to fit a Macbook Air, with handles that can turn the handbag into a backpack.
The small O Pocket bag comes with interchangeable flaps and cross-body straps, which can be customised for either a casual or formal look.
Other products include watches and sunglasses with interchangeable accessories, as well as wallets and document holders.