Made by Members: Christina Stahl
Christina Stahl and her husband are the creators of AMELI Zurich, a laptop bag that supports fashion-conscious
Having to choose between function and style? Not with AMELI Zurich! The young label supports all those women who do not want to be limited in their choices with timelessly elegant and practical designs. AMELI Zurich always thinks outside the box and is committed to empowering women in a variety of ways.
Christina, how did you realize your vision of beautiful and practical bags for women with AMELI Zurich?
When designing our bags, we made sure that we focus on timeless and classic styles. With a laptop compartment, many smaller compartments and flexible carrying options, our customers can use the bags in any situation. I tried to sew the prototype of the first model myself, even though I don’t know how to sew. I quickly realized that it’s the little details that ultimately make a bag perfect.
Was it always clear to you that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Not really. My time in my previous consulting job practically drove me to become a founder. At the time, my employer gave me a really bulky bag and I just couldn’t find anything on the market that was both beautiful and functional. Originally, I just wanted to create a product that would fill that gap in the market.
You and your husband Charly founded AMELI together. How do you divide the work up?
That was pretty clear from the beginning. I’m responsible for everything you can see and he’s responsible for everything you can’t see. So I deal with the design and look of the bags or with marketing and communication, while he takes care of the finances or legal matters. By the way, our team is no longer just Charly and me. We employ people from five different countries, including many women in management positions.
What was the biggest challenge for you at the beginning?
That was clearly the search for the right producer, because unfortunately there is still a lot of nontransparency in the fashion industry. Our bags are now made in Italy by a small, traditional family business. It is very important to us that our supply chain is fully traceable and that we can create fair working conditions for everyone involved. When choosing our business partners, we make sure that they share our values.
How do you ensure that you have control over the production conditions?
The production facility is located in Varese in Italy and is a three-hour drive away. We drop by once a month. This “touch and feel” approach and close cooperation allow us to not only ensure fair production conditions, but also the quality of our products.
Why is your brand actually called AMELI?
AMELI comes from the French word “améliorer”, which means “to improve” or “to enhance”. And AMELI should stand for all those women who are always striving for something better. Our team is predominantly female. Empowering women is important to us. We want to help women all over the world feel like the best version of themselves.
And how do you put this into practice?
Of course we want to empower women through our product. But we also donate a share of our profits to NGOs that are committed to educating women. Since our launch in 2020, we have donated almost CHF 10,000 to various charities. That means a lot to me. We want to give something back and are happy that we were able to do this so soon after the company was founded. One more thing: We have launched the “Strong Voices” blog series. Each month, we publish an interview with a powerful woman who is a role model for others.
Do you also get your inspiration from other female role models?
My inspiration comes from many different sources. I scan every handbag on the street, for example. But I also look at Pinterest or take design cues from classic bags from the past. I also get a lot of inspiration from our customers. When I see our bags bring something out in other women or make them feel stronger, it makes me incredibly proud.