Hi! My name is Ivonne, and I live in Barcelona with my partner, Lucas, and our two-year old son, Zowie. Our label is called Ada Blackjack.
Originally from Utrecht in The Netherlands, Lucas and I moved to Spain in 2008 to start a new life together. As with every new beginning, it wasn’t an easy start; we didn’t know many people and I didn’t speak the language. After some searching, I found a job at an Internet company doing digital marketing. That experience didn’t last long, and when I finally quit, I started making knitted accessories and handbags at home.
Before I knew it, I had a small studio in our apartment. At the time, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do; I kept trying out new things. Ada Blackjack started to become something I felt more and more passionate about, so in 2012 I opened my Etsy shop and launched my brand with a small collection of totes, clutches and satchels. In the meantime, Lucas went to Stockholm for work; there, he met the designer Tobias van Schneider, who fell in love with the story behind Ada Blackjack and helped design our brand identity. Slowly, we began to collaborate and think about future projects.
A lot of our inspiration comes from the materials we work with, which are both sturdy and sophisticated. In fact, most of the products we create are items that we originally created for our own everyday use, such as our backpack and cardholders.
Our process is pretty simple and straightforward. We typically start by collecting lifestyle images we like on Pinterest. Then I use pen and paper to sketch products and make annotations on how functional details should work. After I get my supplies, I start making quick prototypes, sometimes even using cardboard to make the first samples. When I’m happy with the result, I make final adjustments using canvas and leather.
Etsy has really helped me kickstart my brand. Starting a shop was so easy, and the Etsy community has been a big help. Thanks to the feedback I’ve received – and the positive reviews – I’ve been motivated to keep going. My goal is to work on a new collection of leather items, which is a craft all its own.
All photographs by Gaspard Fessy.