Be&D handbag designer Be Inthavong talked about his experience and shared his thoughts and ideas with a group of fellow Lao-American entrepreneurs and others during a meeting of young Laotian-American professionals hosted by the Laotian-American Society of Georgia on December 30, 2005.
The meeting was organized with the aim of providing an opportunity for interested Lao-American professionals to get to know each other, share their ideas and thoughts, and exchange their viewpoints about how Lao-American communities can create a better business environment for the younger generations so that they can succeed.
Be was the keynote speaker and received a lot of attention and interest when participants learned that he is the co-designer of luxury Be&D handbags. Be Inthavong made his way to the front line of the fashion industries with his signature handbags, which are used by many Hollywood stars. He has inspired many young Lao-Americans who look up to him as an example of minority achievements.
Be said success doesn’t come easy; it takes hard work and dedication. He adds that one of the reasons behind his success is his feeling of being a Laotian, being proud of his Lao heritage, and never forgetting his homeland, culture, and traditions. He told the audience, “In fact, when I was an immigrant, what I heard about Laotians, Laos-my home land, this and that…it was not true. I went back to visit and stay for a year in Laos. I’ve witnessed and seen Laos in my own term, on my own and by myself. I saw Laos at a disadvantage and I also saw that Laos has a great potential."
One of our audience asked the
young designer why he chose
to design bags and not something else. Be replied, “I first started designing accessories, jewelries and then belts…Bag design happened by accident. Steve Dumain, my business partner, came home one day with a vintage bag and asked me “ Be, can you make this ? and I said
“Of course I can.” We started to design and make luxury bag from that date onward.” Two years later, Be& D hadbags are now sold among other signature bags in top scale department stores and accepted by celebrities such as singer Jessica Simpson, who was shown carrying Be&D’s Ava City Gold Bag ($1,100) in Harper’s Bazzar January 2006 issue.
Another question was asked by one of another LAS, “Did you have any inside track to get your bags out to top scale department stores? Without any hesitation, Be answered firmly, “I was basically calling Bergdorf Goodman, a leading high-end department store in New York City, and set up an appointment to showcase my bags. I told them “I’m Be&D creator, we have beautiful bags, once you see them, you will love them and you will buy them. Bergdorf Goodman has ordered ever since.”
Be Inthavong cares a lot about his Lao heritage. He said, “Your heritage can be an advantage and can take you far. Always be proud of your heritage. Being a Laotian- American is best for me.” Be has incorporated his old and new cultures into his creations, by adding an authentic and beautiful touch of Lao arts and traditions to make Be&D bags one of a kind and a must have for people who enjoys exotic and unique products.
Listen to our Lao Diaspora report for details.