I’ve already raved about ELF in my previous post
In business school, we are taught that the customer is always right. To be successful, you need to have an excellent product on offer coupled with exceptional customer service. ELF is the perfect example of business success. Not only do they offer uniquely beautiful leather goods topped with one-on-one customer care, you also have the freedom to customize each piece to your liking.
Meet Olga, the phenomenal woman behind the brand.
ELF doesn’t even have a retail outlet. It is completely based on ecommerce, yet the brand has a loyal brand following from across the globe with leading highly-fashionable bloggers in tow.
Originally from Russia, Olga is living the islander dream in picturesque Bali. ELF was conceptualized and created in this scenic wonderland.
What brought you to Bali?
My family moved to Indonesia four years ago. With our extensive experience in management and business development, my husband and I were hired by a catering company for pre-opening stage and further business development.
Now we realize that experience gained during that very first year in Bali is priceless, we learned how to work with locals and how to organize the business processes based on the resources that this island has to offer, which are pretty limited.
After about one year of sleepless nights, and continuous stress with the new catering business, we decided to move on and explore new horizons. We quit our jobs basically for nothing, and had no plan in place.
But it did not take long before ELF was born and we were back to developing ideas, strategies, long-term plans… We were back to sleepless nights but this time we knew it was all for our own sake.
What would you be doing if you hadn’t created ELF?
If ELF did not come to life, I think both of us would be sitting in the office wearing nice suits, occupying some highly paid executive jobs and developing awesome ideas for someone else’s business.
How did you get into leather manufacturing? Do you have a fashion background?
Prior to getting my Bachelors in Business, I went to fashion school for a year but moved on to a marketing career afterwards.
I never knew, but now clearly see how that single year changed my whole life.
It does not matter if you start a clothing label, home-ware brand, or leather bag company but as longs you do things with love, passion and a great desire to succeed anything is possible.
How was ELF born?
We wanted to create something unique and something different.
I do not think you will find any other label offering such a great variety of handmade designs, customization, and color options for exteriors and interiors of the bags. ELF is unique and offers ‘one of a kind’ leather pieces, each made by hand with great love and care.
Is the name influenced by ‘The Elves & the Shoemaker’?
Haha, that’s a good one. :)) I guess you could say that it was influenced by elves. These creatures are mysterious and inspiring enough for creating a whole new line for ELF.
But actually ELF means – Everyone-Living-Free. If you follow us on Instagram you will notice that we promote love for life, freedom, creativity, everything “different”, and beauty.
Tell us about the creation process at ELF.
I do have good days and bad days when inspiration is nowhere to be found near me, or I better say when I do not see it. But on the good days I get inspired by just about anything I find beautiful and tasteful. I like to look at different patterns, art, bohemian fashion, boho architecture and even some industrial designs.
Design and style development is lengthy and very detailed process but probably my favorite of all I do. It’s an amazing feeling when you see your own ideas coming to life in the hands of true leather artisan and further becoming popular styles and someone’s favorite pieces.
What Bali Elf pieces do you own yourself? And what are your most used and favorites?
I think I have owned too many since ELF was started.
I used to own Minimo, Freedom, Ingenue, some shoes. But now I am all for smaller bags and I have Indie, Raindrop, Voyager. For shoes I normally wear flip-flops :)) but I do own a pair of my favorite Midsummer sandals and Dreamer wedges for some nights out.
Can you share any fashion tips with us?
It’s hard to disagree with Yves Saint Laurent’s “Fashions fades, style is eternal” saying.
Fashion is something very temporary and fast moving; style is within us and stays with us forever.
I think everyone has their own style and that’s what makes us different and interesting. Style comes from within and is a means of expressing yourself.
And can you share any work/life balance tips with us?
My family is the main inspiration in everything I do in life.
Since ELF is a family business it’s no easy to keep our work and family life apart.
We try very hard to balance our working time and time we spend together as a family. Not easy, but we managed to succeed.
We find time every day to do something fun together and forget about work for a few hours. Those moments are priceless and the most precious to us. They are the reason we work hard building up and growing ELF.
Thank-you Olga, you are an inspirational woman. I’m we’d all love to come and work for you on the beautiful island of Bali, and wear the gorgeous ELF products!
Check out the ELF range on their website . They ship globally.