Once upon a time,
actually four years ago, I bought a wonderful pair of flip flops with embroidered ribbon straps. They took me through two trips to Paris, not to mention hundreds of days at home and out and about. But, of course, they were looking not so great by this spring. So I contacted the manufacturer, Derin International.
My old, ratty shoe is on the right. To the left is the brand new, gorgeous pair that arrived just the other day.
And, here is a pink pair that also arrived:
(sorry, it’s a little blurry!)
So…while I was talking to Sarah, one of the owners of Derin, it occurred to me that I might do a “story” on the company. I sent her some questions and she very kindly answered in full…
1. Can you tell us something about the company, how it started and a bit of the history?
Derin International dates back to a decade ago when, shortly after they were married, Sara and Ersan moved from New York City to Ersan’s Native Istanbul. Surrounded by the natural beauty and ancient culture of Turkey, Ersan led Sara along the streets of his youth, introducing her to the city’s language and customs. They dreamed about a way to bring some part of it back with them to the states. While on one of their trips to the Grand Bazaar, where Ersan’s grandfather worked as a merchant for 70 years, they encountered small purses made out of replicas of traditional woven carpets. So taken with the beauty of the fabric, they were inspired to create their own fabrics and designs, more in tune with the American market. The response to their vision was, fittingly, named after their newborn son, Derin.
Derin International now exclusively designs the fabric and all the bags, accessories and shoes for their product lines. Sara works with the weavers to create a color palate that meets the ever-changing fashion industry while staying true to classic carpet design.
Now located in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York, Derin International remains at its heart as it was- the individual vision of an international couple; a blend of east and west. Proudly, the company has grown to include a new and exciting line of pewtre jewelry that brings together the motifs of Derin’s intricate patterns with bold, sleek design, Derya Jewelry, named after their daughter, launched July 2010. The products of Derin International truly mirror the lifestyle and family that Sara and Ersan have created together.
2.What is your thought process in deciding which products to produce, and in which colors?
I design both to meet the demand of our customers but also bag styles which are functional and beautiful. Every 6 months we discontinue 3 colors and add 3 more. I use colors which are fitting for the season we are in and go for a fresh and new look each time.3. What is your best selling category?Our belts and accessories are our best sellers, followed by our hipster bags. It is a challange to come up with new useful accessories.4. What do you like MOST about running a manufacturing/importing business?I really love what I do. I am inspired by colors of nature and it is fun and challenging to come up with new color combination which work as our fabric. Sewing prototypes is also very fun for me as well. As with any business there are definitely ups and downs.5. Do you find this business sort of takes over your life? Or are you good at separating it from your personal life? And why Red Hook, New York?In the past it was very difficult to separate business out of my everyday life. As we have become more established it has become easier. Red Hook is a lovely area and not too far from NYC.Unfortunately, these flip flops are almost sold out. They have had problems with the production in Turkey and are not sure when this will be resolved. But go to their website to see the other great products available:
Thank you, Sarah, for offering us a glimpse into your design process and your company!