Rusi has always been a lover of art and design since she was very young. Having studied art in Brussels, she then worked as an interior designer. Married to a British diplomat, she moved around a few countries with her husband, from Georgia where she was born and raised to Belgium, Israel, Thailand, the UK and currently Indonesia.
In Thailand, it was difficult to penetrate the local interior design market. But there was no stopping creativity and love for design as she has also been a fashion enthusiast. “I was inspired by the vibrant colours and shapes of the Bangkok taxis and this led me to design my first collection of clutches, which were produced in twelve colours. I named this the Georgia collection and used a Caucasian Leopard as my logo. This was the start of RusiDesigns handbags,” Rusi reminisces. The love for design redirected from interior to fashion.
The leopard logo symbolised the type of women that the design was made for; confident, strong, and go-getter type of professional women, who also appreciate the love and attention to details. After Georgia, more collections of handbags were produced, using only high-quality Italian leather.
The first production started in Thailand in 2013 but then moved to Italy since 2015. The biggest challenge in the whole production process was the distance between Indonesia and Italy. On some occasions Rusi would have to fly all the way to Italy for face-to-face discussions. “My other big challenge is that I am bursting with ideas and need to focus on what to produce rather than try and do everything!”
However, all difficulties were paid off with the success by far. Now the products are sold in boutiques in Paris, Riyadh, Mexico, Singapore, London and other locations in the UK, as well as online. Some of her proudest moments were when the Chanel factory in Italy agreed to produce her handbags, which reflected their belief in her potential as a luxury brand, and when Rachel Malik, the wife of the British Ambassador to Indonesia wore the Eclipse Clutch when meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
A creative mind would not stop working. Rusi then made a gold colour caterpillar necklace to wear to the Italian National Day reception in Bangkok. Much to her surprise, later that night she went home with ten orders of accessories. “I love to create things myself and find working on my jewellery incredibly therapeutic,” is the reason why all of her accessories are handmade until now. As for the bags, they are produced in limited quantity. Only 30 to 50 bags per design with a maximum of ten of each colour. This is because her customers value the individuality of the bags.
RusiDesigns’ handbags may be limited in numbers. But Rusi’s ideas for more designs flow unstoppably. As she often says, “You can never have too many bags!”