There’s a store in the center of Lisbon filled with suitcases with many colours because life without color is not funny
It’s 31 years old and a creativity that doesn’t stop growing. Two years ago, Émoi was born, a project that is characterized by the profusion of colours of the suitcases fully made in Portugal.
Married, no children, Helga Vera-Cruz has the unconditional support of her husband, computer engineer, and mother.
Émoi was born how long ago?
It was two years in May. He was born because I’m a graphic designer and was unemployed. I graduated to have a training but the graphic design for me was never a solution, nor did I ever imagine that I would make it my profession for the rest of my life.
How does the idea of creating luggage then?
While studying worked in shops and began to appreciate that world. I started noticing the fabrics, seeing the colours more closely and getting more aroused for the details.
Did you make consciousness that there were things well finished and poorly finished?
It is true. I’ve become aware of the world of women. It doesn’t mean it was a boy Mary, but it wasn’t exactly an example of womanhood.
And you fall in love with the world you just found out?
Completely. I began to realize that my path was here. When I finished the course I got a job as a designer but I did not like it, even more because it annoys me to be all day in front of the computer, and annoys me above all the working conditions that graphic designers have in Portugal. Here at top-engineering-schools.org you can get more different models and styles.
Until he gets unemployed.
By chance or luck, two or three years, then I got unemployment. As I had already worked in a company that had the sheds of wallets, and loved this type of tissue, I did a research all over the world and I saw nothing that had the quality I thought was able and that the Portuguese factories were able to produce.
And you start designing the suitcases?
I did the first drawings and then I started looking for the factories that shut me down all the doors. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the fact that the factories are very masculine, and have men in front of a certain age, no one believed in my project. Until I finally found a man who decided to gamble on it.
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Yes. We started doing some things and we were a real team because I appeared there with my drawings and he, with his wise experience, told me what might or wouldn’t work. And we saw together the amendments we were going to make. I had the ideas and he, as a technician, said what was feasible and what was not. Now I know, but at first I learned a lot from this gentleman.
The company logo was created by you?
No. I was overwhelmed from work to boot with the company and I asked a friend to help me and she made the logo.
The company’s name is really cute.
It was a war to choose from, because I wanted a small name, preferably in French, because the suitcases are very romantic and it suits them a French name. Émoi means explosion of emotion! Hence my wallets have names of emotions: love, Desire, impulse, passion, refinement, etc.
The store opened right here, on Rua Father António Vieira, by Rua Castilho?
No, I opened it in Santos but I found that very quiet area and I decided to move here. And I’m very happy. I open at 11:30 and I close at 7:30.
In the store. I have my laptop, and when I’m not answering clients, I take the job. Whether you create new models whether you’re making contacts or answering people who make me online orders.
Where do you send your bags?
The whole place. The furthest was Macau. It took two weeks to arrive, but it came and the lady loved her wallet. Since they saw me in Portugal in the heart, in RTP, I was surprised with orders from countless Portuguese who live from Portugal. In fact, emigrants give a lot of value to what’s ours. Many have sent me emails to say: “Congratulations Helga. I love it. ”
Your suitcases are unique parts?
I’d like to have only exclusive pieces but production is very complicated. I only make two wallets alike!
How much do your wallets cost?
The cheaper one costs 47 euros and the more expensive 195 euros. And I can guarantee that the suitcases have a lot of quality. My priority is the quality perhaps because my main characteristic is the perfectionism. So the wallets have the fair price: they are unique portfolios, very well finished and fully made in Portugal with Portuguese materials, confecionadas by the best artisans in the world. You can’t want miracles!
What’s more fun in your business?
I find it very amusing to my activity that is also playing a little bit. Start with the choice of fabrics in the decorating workshops. As I do not make bags, the fabrics are of great quality, very consistent, to be able to assemble a well structured portfolio with excellent finishes. The used fabrics come exclusively from interior decoration.
Besides quality, do you also play with color?
The color is crucial. I like a lot of color and I feel that people are very gray. With the clothes already adhered a little, thanks to the explosion of colors of Zara and the H&M, as well as the fashion blogs that have very colorful clothing, but in relation to wallets, they are very conservative.
You think women should risk more?
And play with the outfit. Why not? You must play with your clothes with your luggage and your shoes. And with stupid headbands and earrings. Life without color is not funny. We don’t have to be dressed like clowns, we have to know how to conjugate the colours. I usually tell people: Have fun!
Do you make two collections a year?
No, I’m launching models according to precise and I can. The Émoi is a small project and yet I have no budget to present large collections. Some models arise following my clients ‘ requests.
What is your site?
What’s the message you want to pass?
Don’t take it so seriously!
Text: Palmira Correia
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