This is where the story begins . . .
The Jätlag brand combines my passion for travel, fashion and storytelling. I grew up in Southern California. My love of foreign languages and travel took me to Paris, France, where I studied French, and later to Vienna, Austria, where I picked up German. Later on, my career as a lawyer led me to Switzerland.
I came up with the idea to create the ideal canvas tote bag while living in Lausanne, Switzerland. Everyday I rode the train to and from Geneva for work and wanted a cool canvas tote bag for all the extras (for example, big noise reduction headphones, ipad, magazines), which I could carry together with my handbag.
With the help of a work colleague who was from Nepal, I was able to source high quality canvas cotton fabric from a family-owned factory in Nepal. I wanted to ensure the bags were ethically produced and that no one suffered in their production. Together with the factory, I worked to create a bag which could be washed without shrinking, with quality stitching, a gusseted bottom to hold more things, and a concealed side pocket for all the important stuff (e.g. phone, money and keys).
Next I teamed up with a talented artist from London, who shared my sense of style and vision, to turn my ideas into actual designs. The design concepts reflected my cheeky sense of humor, love of puns, languages and the expatriate experience. Sometimes we went through a dozen drafts to get the design just right, but we always persevered to get every detail right before sending them off to the screen printer.
The only thing left to do was to find a name for the brand. We wanted to use “jetlag” because we wanted a name that would convey the international and cross-cultural character of the brand. Given my love of languages and puns, it felt natural to spell “jetlag” differently by interchanging the “e” for an “a” with an umlaut, “ ä ”. In German an umlaut or rather two dots over an “a” is pronounced like an “e” in English. Even our name turned out to be a play-on word!
And this is how the Jätlag brand came to be. Thank you for joining our team on this exciting journey (wherever it may lead us).
Leah Vu, Founder
2441 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040, United States