“Your head-turning moment” is the slogan of MIN (Minimalism, Independence and Novelty) – a Canadian handbag line ranging from everyday work bags to box clutches for the night, launched by Minling Pan in 2013. When Pan graduated of Jinan University in China, she moved to Toronto ten years ago to pursue her dreams in fashion design by finishing fashion management and design program at George Brown College.
Her father, who is a ceramic artist, has influenced her creative mind since early childhood by introducing her to different lines, shapes and textures. “I am always bags-addicted. Deep in my root – my dad’s work has inspired me a lot. I feel great when I hold bags, looking at the shapes, feeling the textures, smelling the materials (leather). It’s like they are telling stories,” she added.
Pin loves everything about designing bags.
“Each stage is amazing. If I need to pick one part specifically, it would be that the first sample becomes reality from a concept. It gives you the feeling of ‘OK, anything is possible as long as you insist’,” Pin said.
The most challenging part; however, is communication with technicians. “Sometimes ideas are just ideas, how I can express them through materials and hardware needs plenty of communications. Listening is the key,” she adds.
The process of designing and making a bag involves many stages and is very time-consuming. It begins with founding materials, sketching an idea, sampling, reviewing a sample and making another one if necessary. When the sample is satisfactory – the process continues with material purchase, pre-production sample, and production. Finally, controlling the quality and packaging the product.
In terms of her inspirations for each bag, life plays a big part. “It could be my daughter, a song, photography, a piece of dessert, or a game; for instance, the colorful bejeweled leather clutch was inspired by the game Candy Crush. I also keep a close eye on technology,” she said.
“Each bag has its own personality,” said Pin. And each bag reflects her personal style, which is a mixture of chic and sporty fashion. She loves details in accessories that can tell a lot about a person’s personality.
“MIN is for women who are independent, looking for designs that could distinguish their styles from others,” said Pan.
Pin desires her consumers to not only buy her products but also invest. She wants her clients to enjoy a purchase over and over again without getting tired of it.
The brand values are to create affordable luxury and invest in a product, but also to create more jobs, support the communities and give back to the society.
Pin started to sell her designs to some very good stockists in Asia. She plans to build and lead another team in Asia in the near future. “Hopefully MIN will become a global business in the next decade or so,” she adds.