Meet with Annette Gharakhanian
Annette is the creator of the brand Geodie, newly online on our e-shop. This designer is part of the new generation of Iranian designers who participate in the booming of the creative scene in their country. Her handbags stand out with their contemporary style, while promoting local artisans whose know-how has been passed down from generation to generation.
How did you decide to launch your own accessory brand in Iran?
I don’t think it would be accurate to say that I decided to launch my brand as it started out as more of an experimental process. It started in 2014 when I began to develop an interest in combining leather with unconventional materials such as Corian and wood. It wasn’t only until 2017 that this hobby evolved into a business– Geodie. So why handbags specifically? I think this object is incredibly intimate, we carry our most personal possessions inside of them. Being a handbag designer gives me sense of power and satisfaction knowing that my work finds its place alongside the everyday experiences of my customers.
In 3 words, how can you describe your brand ?
Quality, experimental, versatile.
How can you describe the Geodie woman ?
She is probably triple booked but is never late. Sophisticated but not precious, the Geodie woman’s handbag is elegant yet durable.
Who are your clients and how do they connect with your story ?
The majority of my clients are Iranian women who, like me, are also in search of good quality accessories for their everyday use. Geodie was born when I became dissatisfied with the options around me. I started off designing handbags for my personal use but when I realized that my friends and family were equally as unhappy with the range of handbags available to them, I began thinking more seriously about how this hobby of mine could meet the needs of other people. Now that Geodie is becoming an international brand, with clients in Paris, Dubai and Armenia, it has become clear that the quality of design is universally appreciated.
Where do you produce your bags? Are there any drivers behind the production ?
All the bags are handmade in Tehran, Iran. The level of craftsmanship in Iran is astonishingly high. I am privileged to be able to profit from the expertise and know-how of craftsmen who have inherited their skills from generations before them.
What are the main challenges for you to expand internationally ?
Honestly, the first problem that comes to mind are the sanctions currently imposed on Iran. This means that the value of the Iranian Rial is unstable which creates financial limitations for us. Secondly, in terms of design, our priority is to cater to a global style. In a sense, creating more avant-garde design would be easier. However, we want our handbags to be used by all whilst maintaining a unique image, which is of course a challenging task.