Q&A: 9 minutes with Coral Chung, founder of Insta-famous bag Senreve

There are as many styles to Senreve as there are ways to wear it, each representing the diversity of the women carrying them. This is the inspiration behind the Insta-famous bag.

Coral Chung, founder of Senreve

If you’ve not seen it on fashionistas like Chryseis Tan or celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Sophia Bush and Anna Kendrick, then you’ll without a doubt have seen the ads on Instagram.

Senreve, the luxury handbag for the multi-faceted modern woman that marries art and science, beauty and versatility, has been making good and fast rounds on social media, for good reason. There are as many styles and colours to it as there are ways to wear it, each and every one representing the diversity of the women carrying them.

Just like its bags, the brand is also constantly evolving. After making a name for itself as a bag that can do it all in the finest luxury Italian leather, Senreve now offers its beautiful styles in 100% vegan leather too, all the better to cater to as many women from as many walks of life.

We stole some time off from the founder of Senreve, Coral Chung, to learn more about the brand, the bag, and the beauty of it all.

Tell us a little about yourself prior to founding Senreve.

I was always quite entrepreneurial, but wanted to make sure I had a solid foundation before starting Senreve. I started my career at Bain in HK and worked all over the APAC region. Right before I started Senreve, I was leading the retail vertical at a high-flying tech company in Silicon Valley called Medallia, which had a very successful $4.4B IPO last summer. Throughout my career, my biggest focus areas were always on learning and personal growth.

Tell us a little about how and when Senreve was founded.

In my role before starting Senreve, I was traveling a ton and during one flight from NYC to SF, I wrote down the entire business plan for what would eventually be Senreve. It sounds mystical, but literally the idea came to me, and I couldn’t shake it. During my nights and weekends, I explored the idea, fleshed it out, started talking to advisors and mentors about it all while still full-time at Medallia. I later also convinced Wendy who was graduating from Stanford’s MBA program to join me as Co-founder and COO. It was a crazy time of uncertainty and many people discouraged me from taking a huge risk like this when I was still vesting valuable stock options. I decided to go for it full-time about 6 months after the initial idea came to me, and the rest is history!

Senreve’s design has become quite recognizable (that iconic flap cover and belt fastener down the centre) across its many product lines from shoulder to belt bags. What inspired the design?

We have a unique design approach and process. It’s very much art meets science. I had a very strong vision for who the Senreve woman is and why she needs this bag – it’s extremely authentic because that woman is me. We collaborated with several technical designers and Italian artisans who are extremely experienced and skilled. We also did a ton of research through surveys, interviews, and focus groups with hundreds of women to understand their wants and needs. I felt strongly about having several iconic elements to our brand including the “face” of the bag, the convertibility with each bag having many ways to wear, and other symbols like the octopi logo mark that we use representing how multi-faceted women are.

Senreve prides itself for the versatility of its bags. Tell us in your own words what made you conceive a bag that can be worn/carried multiple ways.

I always felt that a key part of empowerment, a core pillar of our brand, is giving women the choice to wear products the way they want depending on different occasions. For example, when I’m running around with my daughter and need to be hands-free, I love wearing the Maestra as a backpack. But when I need to look polished, ready for an investor meeting, I use the top handle. I need something that can be with me from day to night, from casual brunches, to formal events – all while being luxurious and elegant, but not over the top with exaggerated logos and obvious flashiness.

Senreve recently premiered a 100% vegan version of its bag. What spurred the move to go into that?

We are always listening to what women want and need. We know that many women are choosing to be vegan in all aspects of their lives. We wanted to provide a luxurious product for them. Traditionally, vegan bags are not thought of as luxurious, and we decided to take that challenge head on. We wanted the same level of quality, craftsmanship, construction and durability as our leather bags as well as a luxurious look and feel. And after over year of development, we finally achieved the perfect 100% vegan bag.

What has the reception of that been like?

The reception has been amazing and our current pre-order waitlist has been completely sold out! Also, many women who previously never tried vegan bags wanted to give it a try because it looked so beautiful and like a leather bag, it’s almost hard to believe it’s actually 100% vegan.

In your own words, how does Senreve stand out from other bag brands out there?

Senreve combines versatility, luxury, design, quality and timeless elegance at an attractive price point. At our core, Senreve truly cares about and thinks about every detail to be perfected for every aspect of the women who carry our products which is something that no other bag brand or luxury brand does.

As Senreve takes over the world, what message would you like to share along with it?

I am very proud that Senreve has become popular globally and not only is a bag brand, but represents a shift in luxury. I love how much Senreve represents and evolves with the multi-faceted women we empower on a daily basis.

Which is your go-to Senreve bag and why?

Currently, I use my Bordeaux Aria belt bag daily. It’s such an amazing bag that can be dressed up with a gold chain or down like a casual sling or around the waist. It’s great for taking a walk around the neighborhood, going to the grocery store or running other mundane errands. At the same time, I wore it to the San Francisco Ballet Gala Opening Night earlier this year and  got so many compliments. It is extremely rare for one bag to be perfect for everything. Also, it’s named after my daughter Aria which makes it all the more special.

Discover more of the brand and shop your own Senreve at the official website here.

(Photos: Senreve)

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