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Getting Under Canopy Verde

by Sofroina Timmons
Creating a lifestyle that adheres to values that sustain the environment is what eco-friendly designer Linda Wong, founder of Canopy Verde, is pursuing. Think: Casual, sophisticated handbags designed to perform for everyday use and functional for any occasion or lifestyle that is green.

Linda offers practical handbags. As an example, when Linda created Canopy Verde, she gave birth to a baby boy, which in turn birthed the Dewberry Tote, a versatile handbag and diaper bag for new moms. She is hands-on from selecting her fabrics, prints and trims as well as material sourcing and marketing forecast. She epitomizes Alicia Keys' Superwoman (of accessories). Sheremains true to her goals that her brand is and will forever be earth-friendly. This is sometimes not an easy task when the variables are high with animal hides, dyes and chemicals to create a luxe bag. Canopy Verde has done a wonderful job in changing the direction using natural materials. Neutral tones with vibrant accent colors are designed with natural bamboo embellishments. Simple creative stitching accents the handbags using calm colors.

There is plenty to choose from: the Dandelion Duffel, Pomelo Clutch, Calamint Clutch, Chicory Hobo, Freesia Portfolio, Cassia Weekender, Willow Bowler and another Juniper Tote all in an array of natural colors that pop!

Tell us how Canopy Verde started and explain the brand's name.
After many years studying and working in business and accessory design, I decided that it was time to take my experience and create something I truly believed in. I saw a void in the fashion industry as I was often looking for handbags that were both design-driven and green. Thus, Canopy Verde was born, a beautiful, fashion-forward collection built on an eco-friendly philosophy.

I was searching for a name that communicated the earth-friendly premise and also a nature-inspired image. Canopy means a protective covering and Verde suggests the green philosophy.

Who do you envision wearing this collection?
Because of the wide range of size and shapes, the collection targets anyone from a college graduate student looking for a bag to carry laptops and books to a 45-year old professional woman who needs a chic weekender for travel.

What were your inspirations for the current collection?
There were a lot of images that inspired me, from the rainforest to the organic pattern on tree bark. I was inspired by different textures as well, which is reflected in the styles. There are wood buttons and zip pullers, supple leather trim, and soft orange lining.

Say more about your plans in relation to the eco-conscious movement?
Canopy Verde has been very focused on creating an earth-friendly product since its launch in 2008.We will continue to improve our process and materials with each season.In a challenging economic environment, I believe that consumers are looking for things that are built well and last.Now it's about getting quality and value for your money, not necessarily about chasing the latest 'it' bag.

How does your collection stand out amongst the competition?
Canopy Verde is distinctive in that it offers both a strong design point of view and an authentic eco-friendly philosophy. Many existing collections offer one or the other. From the beginning, Canopy Verde's goal was to provide a stylish option for women while simultaneously producing a handbag that was not irresponsible to the environment.

Any words of advice for someone trying to break into your profession?
This is definitely a challenging time, so keep at it and take a longer-term perspective on building the brand.

Where can Canopy Verde be purchased and what is the price point?
The collection is in over 20 boutiques nationwide as well as on my website www.canopyverde.com

The clutches start at $75 and the largest weekender and tote retail for $199.


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