PLAYNOMORE came along at just the right time, a Korean brand established in 2014, they are a company that loves fashion, but refuses to take it too seriously.
With their key and most popular ‘SHYGIRL’ bag, the founder, Chaeny Kim wanted to revive childhood memories. Playing with the idea of luxury versus wit, and classic versus pop art, they have created their own interpretation of a new classic.
It’s an incredibly smart brand and fantastic idea. Handbags have always been a huge part of a woman’s wardrobe. The classics such as the Chanel bag that was launched in 1929, the Hermès Kelly in 1937, the Hermès Birkin in 1984 to the Lady Dior in 1995. The explosion of designer handbags has only continued to grow, and now more than ever are a symbol of how ‘on trend you are’ or how much money you might have in the bank. However PLAYNOMORE have taken the idea of the status symbol and turned it into something fun and I couldn’t love it more.
When I walked in I was overwhelmed with the display of bags on the wall. I felt like a kid in a candy store as I looked around at row after row of fun, gorgeous eyes literally looking back at me! With the middle section featuring their latest Samsonite partnership, as well as collaboration with Korean model Irene Kim, I sat down in the gorgeous store to chat about Chaeny Kim’s thoughts behind the brand and where she sees the future of it in the coming years.
Can you tell me more about your background? When you first became interested in fashion and if you studied fashion?
Yes! I studied fashion and textile. I ran a company that also made shoes, I did that before I started PLAYNOMORE.
When did you decide to begin your own company and how long did it take from idea to launching?
It was about two to three years. I was thinking about the SHY GIRL line prior to the launch. It actually started in 2014 January, but I launched in June.
I read your original inspiration for creating the collection was to revive that childhood memory of fun and bring that playfulness into your collection. Was this because you felt sometimes fashion is perhaps taken too seriously?
Yes, I felt that fashion was sometimes taken too seriously, so I just wanted something that would break the idea of a bag having status symbol and wanted something more fun.
People like the bags a lot and people feel a real draw to the bags, from kids to adults. It was something they needed in that time, something fun.
What was the biggest challenge with starting up PLAYNOMORE?
We actually had a few counterfeit issues with our brand. However they were only able to copy the shape and the eye. The quality and sequins are totally different. It’s a very different technique that we use on our products.
Yes! It was great, Irene Kim collaborated with us as well and she is pretty famous and she really liked the brand, she also wore the bag during PFW as well.
What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment since starting up PLAYNOMORE?
After we launched, buyers started contacting us. We have since launched in Italy, which was a big accomplishment, and then the other big accomplishment has been opening this store.
From the beginning the bags have been popular. I met Miss J (America’s Next Top Model) before the launch. I wanted to give her a bag so I gave her mine. I literally emptied everything from my bag and gave it to her. I had handmade that bag and we didn’t have inventory. I then later met Tyra Banks and gave her the yellow one.
Irene Kim did a capsule collection of three circular coin purses with Emoji faces done up in sequins. How did you come to work with Irene Kim?
I’m good friends with Irene Kim, Irene drew it and then from that we made up the bag!
Samsonite approached us, Langeige, also approached us, we did the design for the packaging and chose the colors and everything. The Barbie one has been in the works for a long. It will be launched soon though! We are working with them on bags and clothing and making Barbie in to a graphic. The Barbie print will also probably be on there too.
Your trademark was the eye illustration, how did you come up with this design and what does it symbolize to you?
They eyes are important to me because that’s where we can show true, emotion, from the eyes.
It’s important to me and I want to keep this project going, we will have a donation line on each project. We want to keep a line going that a percentage of that money will go towards the charity.
What has been the most popular piece from the collection?
SHY GIRL in black or white. Some people have every single color though!
Can you tell me more about your design process? Do you start with a sketch or do you go out and find inspiration from people on the street?
I draw but I also go to a lot of activities, and get a lot of inspiration from everything around me.
What kind of a customer is a PLAYNOMORE customer? How would you describe him or her?
It is actually so varied. We have everyone, from the elderly generation, to the young. Everyone loves the bag!
What do you want your customers to feel when they wear your collection?
I want people to be happy. Happiness is my key goal. I want people to smile when they buy my products.
You are so widely stocked internationally including Asia and Europe. What do you think has been the key to being so successful internationally?
We had so many buyers approach us, Fenwicks for instance, they found us via Instagram, word of mouth. We did have some buyers from the trade show.
I think geographically wise we get a lot of influence and business has really grown. K pop and all the other Korean popular content makers have really helped.
In such a trend driven place does that worry you with regard to the longevity of the brand?
We aren’t really worried about the fast trends culture in Korea, as we weren’t aiming for a Korean market. We look at a global market. A lot of customers are from China for instance. We are quite big in China for sure.
Do you think there is a difference between your European customer and Asian customer? Do you see a difference in the way people dress or express themselves in different countries for instance?
In terms of Europe and Korea they are quite different. The European market is open to new brands, new products. However America is a bit more conservative. That’s our new challenge, that they are more centered on established brands.
Can you share any other upcoming plans you might have or any collaboration you might be doing?
Barbie is our next big one!
We plan to grow organically, with more collaborations with celebrities!