I am Mayan, creator and designer of the UKoalaBag (pronounced YOUkoalaBag).
I graduated in China with a bachelors degree in civil engineering.
During 4 years of my husband’s battle with cancer, besides taking care of him, I finished my interior design degree in Charlotte NC. I also became an artist. Painting was an extremely powerful tool that helped me through that painful journey.
At the end of 2011, sadly, I lost my husband. The job market was down, and even with all my educational background, I could not find a job.
Designing the UkoalaBag was one of my hobbies. The idea spawned about 12 years ago. I traveled a lot because I am definitely a person filled with curiosity. One time, I took an over-night flight, alone, with the strangers sitting beside me. I did not feel very comfortable about the idea of my purse being unguarded while I nodded off for some sleep. I thought that I wouldn't have any worry if only could somehow have my bag attached to my body tightly. So, I took off my shoe laces, and fastened my little leather purse to my thigh. That thought stayed with me until I saw a koala bear in Australia. How did this heavy animal stay so secure, way up in the trees just from hugging a tree? A hugging koala...THAT'S IT!! I flattened a koala anatomical shape to make the bag's base, and I also used a simple mathematical calculation to tweak the angle of the curve, to create absolute balance and apply it to our weight distribution system. Ahhh the beauty of math! My high school math teacher had no idea. I love math, I love logical thinking.
The first UKoalaBag on my body caused a lot of attention, where ever I went. The same thing our customers experience when they wear their UKoalaBag.
With all the interest in my creation, I decided to take it to the public, and make a business of it in 2013. In January of 2016, I brought a young talented CEO, by the name of PJ Powell, aboard to execute the vision of developing this into one of the top companies on the planet. Making the shift to a legitimate company was a bit like jumping in the water without knowing how to swim. LOL. Wow.
Two groups people definitely made me stronger: people who love me and our product (I receive thank you emails almost every day), and the people who tried to beat me up. I can not thank you enough for everything I have been through; it's been a wonderful journey full of stories that I will tell my grand kids some day:)
The UKoalaBag is my passion. And yes, it’s like the love of my life. I think about it all the time: how to adjust it to be better, how to fit different needs in such a COMPACT space, how to add more function without adding cost, how to be more reasonable with the design... I consider my design an organic design, because it embraces strength like the earth, multiple applications like ourselves, and repeated use, over and over without fail, like our hearts.
I have met so many cool people in my travels to different festivals and trade shows. The greatest moment for me, is when I see their happy faces when they put the UkoalaBag on! The amazing thing is that there is a UkoalaBag that blends in with everyones unique style; it absolutely becomes a part of each individual! I see how each person stands out with a great statement: I AM HERE! I AM DIFFERENT! I AM UNIQUE! I AM POWERFUL! That is my reward!
The challenge keeps me so alive. I am obsessed with perfection, that's the reason my design changes all the time. After almost three years of testing the market, the UkoalaBag collection is now mature. The concealed carry line, men's hunting and fishing line, travel bag line, and the vintage fashion line are very focused, and all serve an immense purpose. We rigorously beta-test all of our products, using real-life abuse, prior to their production.
Last year, I lost my father to cancer. Yes, in 4 years, I lost 2 family members to cancer! These deaths made me look at life differently. I do care, and I absolutely do want to make a difference. This year, I would like to give a portion of every one of your purchases, to cancer research.
In 2016, I became American citizen! I am so proud to be a part of this great country. I will continue to work hard, and contribute my best to this country, and to this world!
Thank you for all my friends' honest feedback. Thank you for the support from all the retailer stores as well!
My English is not perfect, but my brain works just fine lol