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01/01/2018 - 07:00hs

Brazilian-styled purses in Lebanon

Entrepreneur Katia Aawar created patchwork purse brand Hands Secrets in the Arab country. Born in Lebanon and raised in Brazil, she has expansion plans for hew newly-established business.

Press Release

Katia Aawar shows off a Hands Secrets purse

São Paulo – Patchwork is not widespread in Lebanon, and this was the rationale behind Lebanese-Brazilian Katia Aawar’s Lebanon-based purse brand Hands Secrets. A native of Lebanon who grew up in Brazil, she decided to start a business after relocating to Lebanon. She makes purses by combining different-sized multicolored patches, an unheard-of technique in Lebanon.

The very first items by Hands Secrets were made about a year ago. Speaking to ANBA over the phone, Katia said she first started sewing as occupational therapy. She’d show the purses she’d make to friends and to the Brazilian community in Lebanon. Then she took courses and created a brand name, and things gradually evolved into a business.

The purses are made with materials imported from Brazil. Aawar relates that she only sources raw material from Lebanon in the occasional emergency. Other than that, everything from yarn to fabric comes from Brazil. The purses are fabric and most have leather straps. All items are single-edition; no purse is like any other. Aawar also makes items to order, meeting customer’s color and style requests.

Some of the items are sold from stores in Lebanon, but Aawar sells mostly to acquaintances or online, through the brand’s or her own social media pages. Prices are in the USD 80-USD 90 range, but some wallets go for USD 40. In a month, she plans to put up a website and online store for the brand.

Katia Aawar has lots of plans for Hands Secrets, including releasing a collection named Chita Bonita, a socially-conscious product line that will see Aawar invite refugees in Lebanon to embroider the fabric that’ll go into purses, placemats and cushion covers. Some of the income will go to social projects in the Arab country.

Press Release

The material is built with Brazilian-sourced materials

Apart from making purses, Aawar teaches private lessons in creative sewing and patchwork. She will soon start teaching classes at the Brazil-Lebanon Cultural Center, which is the cultural arm of the Embassy of Brazil in Beirut. Her plans also include teaching girls nine or older.

Despite having been born in Lebanon, Aawar moved to Brazil at age six and spent most of her life in different Brazilian cities. The daughter to a Lebanese father and a Brazilian mother, she lived in Minas Gerais and Bahia. Aawar made the move back to Lebanon in 2008. Although she started Psychology school, most of the work she did in Brazil was in sales. Her father passed when she was in her teens, and she soon began helping her family earn an income.

In Lebanon, Aawar mostly known for her social work. She created a project combining art and recycling that sees exhibitions and activities involving children, people with special needs, elderly persons and refugees. Presently, Katia Aawar also leads a group of craftswomen whose goal is to generate income, provide an occupation and improve the self-esteem of Brazilian housewives in the Lebanese countryside.

Quick facts

Hands Secrets
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katiaHSbags/
Phone: +971 71 141 602

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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