watermelon maxi dress c/o: Q.HEART // sunflower head wrap c/o: Zealand Boutique // polarized sunnies c/o: SportRX
If there's one place that's in my Top 5 travel wishlist destinations, it's Bali. Don't get me wrong, I'm not interested in trying to pray and love my way over there, but the eating part sounds great. As does the partying, shopping, and beaches.
To me, Bali evokes an easy, happy way of life. So when Maai, the entrepreneur and designer behind fashion label Q.HEART, contacted me a few months ago, her easygoing, happy personality confirmed what few suspicions I had about this beautiful place. And much like San Diego or Sayulita, many of the people who exemplify Bali's magic aren't necessarily from there. Rather they are attracted there, seeking to reflect what the place exudes.
In Maai's case, her road to Bali began in Japan where she was born. After attending a fashion college in Tokyo, she moved to London to perfect her English and study European fashion. She spent a year there before moving back to Tokyo, where she worked as a fashion editor. But all the while, she dreamed of starting her own line. Today, that dream is a reality in the shape of Q.HEART, her fashion line and boutique located in Bali.
Over the past few months, I've gotten to know and become inspired by Maai's talent, vision and positivity. And since she shared some of her designs with me, I decided that I'd share a little of her story through a short Q+A with the designer herself...
What is the inspiration behind Q.HEART? And where did you come up with the name?
Maai: The name Q.Heart stands for Queen of Hearts. I actually came up with the name when I was in fashion college and carried it on. Behind the Queen of Heart's strong figure, she is also delicate, sensitive and caring. She is the true definition of ‘sexy&cute’.
To me, being 'sexy&cute' is about more than just being sexy and cute at the same time. Being 'sexy&cute' is a feeling, a lifestyle and Q.HEART helps you to get there. We focus on making you look sensual by accentuating your most delicate areas like your collarbone, neck, waistline, back and knees. We do this with simple cuts and lines in our designs that enhance your femininity.
“Simple design meets cute details” is our motto and many cute details are hidden inside of every piece. We also believe that each woman has her own, individual sense of femininity, even if they aren’t always aware of it. We take pleasure in helping women to realize this femininity which helps them to rediscover their own beauty. Q.HEART clothes are best worn with the confidence that you look beautiful in them because they give you more than just style, but also the feeling of 'sexy&cute'!
How about the individual pieces in your collection? What inspires each design?
Maai: My beach & resort life style. Q.HEART clothing is born from what I want to wear, where I want to wear it, and what I feel while doing so! The designs themselves are especially inspired from nature in Bali and my happiness here. Lots of smiles, waves, ocean, sunsets. Being happy is the key for me!
I explain more about it here in this blog post on my store's site. The Q.HEART fans are constantly amazed when I share these stories of inspiration with them.
Maai: Usually at the beginning of a designing season, I bring my empty sketch book to the beach and draw whatever comes in my mind. Under the sun, in front of waves, on my sarong. Sometime I go on a short trip to get away from computer and routine life. This is the very start. And from there, I start to make samples. After some samples , I start to think about whole collection images.
What are some of the hardships and lessons you learned about being a business owner?Maai: To believe my own fate. It wasn’t easy, and I still don’t think it's easy to run a label. But I do believe my fate and so does everybody around me. It's so important that everybody around me helps and believes in me.
The other difficult thing I had to learn as an entrepreneur was to be patient. To grow our label took a long while and it is still growing. But I enjoy the slow moving time – I could enjoy my life too!
Also flexibility was needed, because we are in Bali!! Things often don’t work as I expected, like when I was in Japan where everything is organized and moves so fast. But I am so happy to find a good solid team like the one I have now. We have experienced a lot so it is much much easier. And everyone is looking in the same direction!
What does a typical work day look like for you?Maai: To be honest, every day is very different for me. But if I can describe my perfect work day it is: 1.Morning surf and have a breaky and coffee in front of ocean 2.Computer work 3.Lunch 4.Meeting and checking our factory 5.Boutique 6.Back to computer 7.Off to Sunset.
What's next for Q.HEART?Maai: For every single girl in San Diego to wear Q.HEART and to spread SEXY&CUTE spirits all around the world! :)