Inside Kayu

Let’s Get Personal

If you haven’t already heard we’ve brought back our monogram shop. It’s amazing how adding one’s initials to a bag can make it that much more special. But just when you thought your tote couldn’t get any more personal here’s a little read on how your monogrammed tote is extra meaningful.

Here at Kayu we value and believe that every woman has the right to develop to her fullest potential and earn a living wage. Most of our bags are made by women in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. These women are mothers and weaving allows them to work from home, look after their children and also provides them with a source of income. I’ve been wanting to take some of our production local for a while now, and am so happy to say that we’ve teamed up with the San Francisco YMCA to offer monogramming on our straw totes. The women we work with are new immigrants who do not speak English and as a result have difficulty finding jobs. Unfortunately this means that they are often underpaid and work menial jobs like dishwashing and mowing lawns. Our initiative provides them with practical training and an alternative source of income.

We recently offered a series of trainings on the art of embroidery and also had the privilege to learn more about the women and their personal stories.

We worked with Annalee who trained at the Royal School of Needlework in the UK. Here she demonstrates a sewing technique to the women. 

Coco and Kit Ling working together on their first project. Coco enjoys crafting projects and has a 6 year old daughter. Kit Ling moved to San Francisco less than a year ago. She has some experience machine sewing in Hong Kong and is excited to learn hand embroidery.


Mother and daughter, Jing Jing and Ting, practice embroidering the alphabet together. Jing Jing, the mother, recently moved to San Francisco to spend more time with her grandkids. She previously worked in a restaurant but was abused by her co-workers. Ting decided to be a part of this initiative so she can be by her mother’s side and also earn extra income. 

One of the greatest things about the program is seeing how quickly the women picked up the skill of embroidery and the looks of satisfaction on their faces at perfecting the alphabet! We’ve started by only offering monogramming on one tote but as the women learn more techniques hope to expand the service to other pieces in our collection.

From now until November 29th eceive free monogramming on any St. Tropez tote purchase here.


Spotlight on: Shoshanna

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The Shoshanna line is bold, unique, and innovative, just like the founder behind it. Shoshanna Gruss is the power-woman who continues to change the way women’s fashion is defined through her feminine and playful designs. We had the opportunity to have a 1-on-1 chat with Shoshanna and here’s what went down.


What is your favorite part about being a creative director?

It’s such a wonderful outlet for all of my energy. I don’t think I ever come into the office without an excited feeling. I get energized by the colors and fabrics and trims, and seeing my fantasies come to life in the form of our sample never loses its specialness.

What are some future goals for Shoshanna?

I have always grown the Shoshanna brand organically, never pushing us in a direction that didn’t feel right. We are seeing a lot of growth in our new evening collection, Midnight, and I am excited to expand on that area.

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Photo Credit:

You can check out Shoshanna’s latest collection here.

What can we expect to see from Shoshanna in the coming months?

Innovative, beautiful, celebratory clothing that fits women like it was made for them, that is what you will always see us striving for.

Any news on introducing a boy’s collection to your line?

Ha!!! Now that I have a son, I think about this all the time…don’t be surprised if we add a boy’s element to our swimwear collection…

If you could give one tip or advice to someone entering the fashion industry, what would it be?

To stay true to your gut, and to maintain your creativity. Determination is as important as is talent.



What inspires you?

I am inspired by the strong and determined women I see every day in this great city. I want to make beautiful clothing for them that fits well, and makes them feel like they are presenting their best selves while looking strong, celebratory, powerful and beautiful.

Does the Shoshanna style replicate your own style?

The Shoshanna style has always represented my style, and has evolved as I have grown and evolved.

 Family & Thanksgiving

What are some of your favorite family time activities?

We are ALL so busy these days, especially now that the school year has started; one of my favorite things is all sitting around on the couch, reading, snuggling, and even watching a Disney movie. Just the deliciousness of us all being relaxed and together, with no schedule. That’s my favorite family time.

What is your family’s favorite dish to share and enjoy?

My father makes the most amazing sausage stuffing. It’s what I look forward to every year.

How do you give thanks?

I honestly feel thankful every day.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an all-day affair at my place in Sag Harbor. We eat around 4pm, and then all watch the kids play until it’s time to go home.

KAYU Favorites

Which is your favorite Kayu bag?

Absolutely LOVE the St. Tropez tote!



DIY: No-carve Pumpkin Decorating

It’s the time of the year where pumpkin rules everything. For most of us, searching for the perfect pumpkin is fun and festive but carving it is messy and tiring. So this year skip the mess and try out our simple no-carve pumpkin DIYs.

Here’s what you’ll need (less or more, put your own twist on it) :

  • pumpkins
  • something to cover the surface you will be working on (i.e. newspaper, table cover, etc.)
  • scissors
  • tacky glue or modge podge
  • paint brushes
  • painter’s tape
  • glitter
  • paint
  • decorative tissue paper
  • colorful sharpies
  • push pins
  • mini pom-poms
  • Confetti
  • time: It took the two of us less than 30 minutes to decorate four pumpkins



Simply take some flat pushpins to spell out or design whatever you’d like.  We decided to trace our logo onto the pumpkin with some gold pins. To be more precise with the pinning trace out your design with a sharpie beforehand. We also made some colorful tissue paper flowers and pinned them to the top of the pumpkin as embellishment. Voila!

Sparkle and Glimmer

This pumpkin looks super classy and reminds me of a modern Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. First, paint the whole pumpkin your choice of color. We went for a warm metallic color (warm metal: available at a your local Target store). We used a sponge brush and found dabbing the paint was the best application tactic. While the paint is still wet sprinkle some glitter over the top. Easy peasy!

Pom-Pom Polka-Dot Party

Who doesn’t enjoy a few polka-dots? We know we do! For this fun look, start by painting your pumpkin the color you desire. We went for a fun tiffany blue shade to brighten up the mood. After painting the pumpkin, take a few mini pom-poms (found at your local Michaels craft store) and glue them around the pumpkin. Now you have a polka-dot party on your pumpkin!

Stars and Stripes


For this design we used a white pumpkin- to save white paint and time. To create cleaner lines use painters tape and follow the creases on the pumpkin. Once the tape is all lined up paint every other section in the color you’d like. Remember to remove the tape once the paint is dry. To add some fun we glued on star shaped confetti to the unpainted sections. This pumpkin is totally working the stars and stripes look and so can yours!


We hope these easy no-carve pumpkin decorating tips inspired you. Remember, carving isn’t the only option, be creative!

Kardashian + KAYU = Killer Look

Last week Cosmopolitan celebrated their 50th year by throwing a huge birthday bash. The Kardashian and Jenner clan were among the many celebrities that joined in on the birthday fun. Someone else we know quite well made it on to the pink carpet too. Our own Arnette clutch! Kourtney Kardashian paired her all black ensemble with the Arnette and looked absolutely stunning. Take a look for yourself at this killer combo:

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The clutch is from our latest collection and is available here.

Fall into Style

Good-byes can be tough but not when you’re saying hello to pumpkin flavored everything, falling leaves, and feeling cozy! So kiss summer good-bye and check out our list of fall essentials for some trendy inspiration.


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J. Crew//H&M//Madewell//J.crew


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Kate Spade//Freda Salvador//TOPSHOP//Vince


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Bath&Body Works//Pinterest//Elizabeth Egan//Madewell

What to Wear

Summer is in full swing and there are still plenty of weddings and bridal parties to attend. Are you running out of ideas as to what to wear to these special occasions? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check out these lovely outfits we dreamed up!



Guipure Lace Dress by Self-Portrait.
Melanie Clutch by KAYU.
Hammered-silk Maxi Dress by Halston Heritage.
Leather Pumps by Gianvito Rossi.
Audrey Clutch by KAYU.
Tista Clutch by KAYU.
Asymmetric Printed Chiffon Dress by Halston Heritage.

Hello Summer

Summer is officially here! Whether you’re going to a pool party, picnic or BBQ, don’t forget to grab a Kayu bag with you. Our St Tropez is perfect for toting around all your summer necessities like camera, sunglasses, sunscreen, and water bottle (gotta stay hydrated). If you like to travel light, our Capri and Tulum Leopard are the perfect clutches for your wallet, phone, and lipgloss. We styled up these three bags with a little bit of chambray, a little bit of crochet and a whole lot of sun!
1. St Tropez tote by KAYU
4. Capri clutch by KAYU
7. Slingback sandals by Soludos

Our new studio

2015-05-28_164343Those of you who follow our blog will know that I ran KAYU from home for a couple of years before deciding that it was time to have a place just for all things KAYU. Two years ago we made the move to a beautiful studio in one of my favorite neighborhoods, South Park. Our office was in the middle of a beautiful park smack in the middle of San Francisco, right next to all the cool restaurants and boutiques. The problem was it was a thirty minute drive from where I live (and that’s on a good day with no traffic). When I had my first child last September I knew it was time to move again. There was no way I was driving an hour each day to and from work. I started looking for spaces in downtown Burlingame, an adorable town only ten minutes from my home. When I came upon our current space I knew it was the one. It’s a 700 sq foot space that used to be an architect’s office and was perfect for the KAYU team.


It took us over a month to decorate the space but after much back and forth, pinterest boards and shopping sprees at IKEA, the space is finally done. We have an open meeting area that houses a dining table from Home Goods and chairs from DWR, two smaller offices with white desks and chairs, and a light-filled sun room that is great for parties. One of my favorite pieces is a vintage pie-safe which we found in an antique store. It’s painted the perfect shade of turquoise and now houses our latest collection.


To celebrate our new space and introduce our Cote D’Azur inspired collection, we recently hosted a French themed soiree. We were lucky to be able to team up with so many talented vendors who made our vision come to life. We wanted designated areas for eating and drinking, and a flower bar where guests could make their own bouquet.

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Our talented Creative Director Kim made this canopy just for the event!


The food was catered by Nuri’s Kitchen and Macarons a Go Go, and the beautiful table setting and flowers were done by Chairs + Cups. 


I’ve always wanted to see our name in lights :)

2015-05-28_1610132015-05-28_1519352015-05-28_154515I hope you enjoyed the tour. For those of you in the Bay Area do stay tuned for more parties, and for all who helped make the space come to life a big thank-you!