How new Vancouver mom launched handcrafted leather goods brand from home

May 17 2021, 4:56 pm

Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, weā€™re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.

Starting a business in any case is extremely difficult. That’s why the stories of people with a passion and a dream starting from the very ground up is so impressive.

In 2015, Maggie Li — a new Vancouver mom — did just that when she started her journey and her brand. Li began making products such as clothes, purses, wallets, and more with her own hands.

Atelier Eli Designs is her company that offers handcrafted designer pieces, all made lovingly from Li’s home-based studio in Burnaby.


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Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946, like local entrepreneurs. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses and artists, we talked to Maggie Li about how she turned her first homemade craft into a successful business.

Like many of us, we live a busy life,” Li told Daily Hive. “I want to create products that serve high functionality and make us feel good about ourselves,” she added.

Li highlights her special pieces, whether it’s using hand-dyes or special fabrics to create her one-of-a-kind products. She’s making practical art we can take with us, striving toĀ bring slow fashion and intentional craftsmanship to her customers. In a city like Vancouver filled with artists, Li is inspired by many of their work.

Any artists who are humble and stay true to who they are,” Li said.

“I admire designers who use their platforms to bring attention to social issues and important messages that has social impacts,” she added.


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It’s through these artistic inspirations that Li finds even more motivation, combined with her given passion and unique talent, of course.

I believe the quality and the aesthetics of my work speak for itself,” said Li. “I always try to work my hardest and stay true to my vision. I know that will get noticed and the right customers will appreciate my work,” she added.

Vancouver might be filled with artists and local business that appreciates that, but Li believes there’s more that can be done to foster the talent here.

“In many ways, I think Vancouver is a great place to be creative, but I wish there are more programs or art funding available to newbies or to the public so we are encouraged to be creative,” said Li.

The art and craft community in Vancouver has been very welcoming and supportive. I think we all have a common goal and understanding of the struggles of running a small business,” she added.


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Wherever your inspiration comes from, or your passion, starting your very own business forces one to apply that experience in practical ways. It’s a daunting risk, and a necessary one that every entrepreneur eventually has to make. Maggie Li took that leap and she’s built something she — and the rest of Vancouver — should be celebrating.

Over of the years of running my small business, I have had a lot of learning curves,” Li told us. “I truly believe that you learn from doing and you gain your skillset by taking risks and working hard,” she added.

It’s great advice for artists, business owners, and anyone looking to make their mark. Everything Li has learnt and gained is evident in every Atelier Eli Designs product.

Daily Hive

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