Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fashion accessories but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chau Sáenz, CEO and Founder of Chau Sáenz, located in Belvedere Tiburon, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a luxury fashion brand dedicated to empowering sophisticated, modern individuals to experience the difference, not just the status. At Chau Saenz, we believe that our designs have the power to elevate you to be the best version of yourself, the unstoppable person your way. Our mission is to enable you to create your own legacy. We believe that you don't have to compromise luxury for practicality. Our handbags and accessories are designed to become a timeless essential in your wardrobe for years to come. Not only do they make you feel special, but our signature pink interior serves as a reminder of self-love and positivity.

We understand that handbags are truly an extension of who we are, part of our day-to-day story. As an extension of who you are, our products are created to complement your unique style and individuality. Our clientele consists of discerning shoppers who appreciate luxurious items that are both stylish and functional. They are unique individuals who prioritize elevated experiences that provide a sense of tranquility and confidence in expressing their true selves.

Tell us about yourself

I was born in Vietnam, but my family fled when I was just two years old. We spent over a year in a refugee camp before finally making our way to America. My mom was a talented tailor, so I grew up surrounded by fabrics and sewing machines. I've always been a creative person and even designed my own prom dress in high school with my mom's help. Despite my love for fashion design, I didn't pursue it as a career because I felt it was unrealistic as an immigrant. Instead, I decided to study journalism/communications.

Timing is everything, and it's funny how life brings you full circle. My passion for designing bags started during my frequent travels. I found packing for trips to be a hassle with no way to keep everything organized. I knew there had to be a better way to pack my makeup, passports, and snacks. So, I started sketching ideas over the years and became obsessed with handbags! I never thought I'd become a certified leather artisan, but I was always curious about how handbags were made. Finally, the stars aligned, and I found a school that fits my schedule. After my first class, I was hooked!

As an artist, turning my drawn ideas into actual bags through cutting and sewing is an incredible feeling. It's a dream come true to see my vision come to life. Thanks to training from a Hermes-trained leather artisan with 35+ years of experience, I now understand the hard work and high-quality materials that go into creating each individual bag.

My passion for fashion and functionality is rooted in my own experience as a busy mom. It is more than just creating a great bag. I want to empower people to be their best selves, to rediscover their love for fashion, and to prioritize their own needs as they balance the demands of work, family, and life. With my namesake luxury brand, I want to change the way we accessorize, one stitch at a time.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

While having a dream is one thing, executing it is a whole other ball game. The fact that I was able to launch my own company and see my dream become a reality is a major accomplishment. It's something I never imagined being able to share with my husband and son, whose undying love and support made all the long nights and hard work worth it. Being a solo entrepreneur is no easy feat, but I've been fortunate enough to meet so many other entrepreneurs along the way. Together, we've created a network of support that has been invaluable to me, and for that, I am truly grateful.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The journey of entrepreneurship can be a tumultuous one, filled with highs and lows that can leave one feeling like they're on an emotional roller coaster. It's important to remember that these ups and downs are a natural part of the process and that every setback can be an opportunity for growth and learning.

When faced with challenges, it can be easy to get discouraged and lose sight of the progress that has been made. That's why it's important to take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate every small win, no matter how insignificant it may seem. These small victories can help to provide the motivation and inspiration needed to keep pushing forward. Remember, success is not a destination but rather a journey. With each step forward, there may be setbacks, but it's important to keep moving forward with compassion for oneself and others.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Find your tribe: Surround yourself with like-minded people who will support you, bounce ideas off of you, and cheer you on. It can be lonely out there, so having a support system is crucial.
  2. Network fearlessly: Don't be afraid to reach out and connect with others for advice or collaboration. The worst they can say is no.
  3. Trust your gut: Listen to your intuition and don't be afraid of it. Your instincts are there for a reason.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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