I am Mayan, the creator and designer of the UKoala Bag (pronounced YOU-Koala Bag) and the founder of the company.
I graduated in China with two bachelors degrees in civil engineering. And I worked for Chinese GOV for ten years as the supervisor and inspector for the construction.
During the four 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.
At the end of 2011, I lost my husband. The job market was down, and even with all my educational background, I could not find a job. I and my daughter had to walk out of the house, that was very scaring time for us.
Designing the Ukoala Bag 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 overnight flight, alone, with only 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! I love math; I love logical thinking.
The first UKoala Bag on my body created a lot of attention, wherever I went, the same thing our customers experience when they wear their UKoala Bag.
With all the interest in my creation, I decided to take it to the public and make a business of it in 2013. It was like jumping into the ocean without knowing how to swim.
Two groups of 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; Nothing will stop me. With some kind threaten I received I realized I had to apply for patent. After three years hard working process and huge financial drag, I finally obtained two patents: design patent(in 2014)and utility patent(in 2017).
UKoala Bag is 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 functionality without adding cost... 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 moments for me is when I see their happy faces when they put the Ukoala Bag on! The amazing thing is that there is a Ukoala Bag that blends in with everyone's 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 growing wiser and sharper. After seven years of testing the market, the Ukoala Bag collection is very mature. We released our 11th generation of Ukoala Bag. 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.
In 2014, I lost my father to cancer. In 4 years, I lost 2 family members to cancer! These deaths made me look at life differently. Very soon a bag serves cancer treatment will be available.
I became an American citizen in 2016! I am so proud to be a part of this great country. My American dream Is mixing with my tears and blood. I made it with all the challenges, and now I have to re brand for better future.
Thank you for my wonderful team member! I am truly blessed by all the wonderful people around me.
Thank you for all the friends support! Without your help, I will not be a strong person I am now!
My English is not perfect, but my brain works just fine. Looking forward to meet everyone in person in the shows!
(like Mayan culture)