Los Angeles native and stylist, Victoria Acosta, did that thing that we all dream of doing someday. She packed her bags and moved her life to Bali to embark on a soul and career-searching adventure in a tropical paradise with her boyfriend and dog, Benji. What first started as an obsession for capturing photos of locally handcrafted goods to share on her social platforms soon turned into a small business venture selling locally-made bamboo and rattan bags that give you that wanderlust feeling. Now, 2 years later, Victoria is running her successful Bali-born accessory business from the comforts of her hometown in LA and is excited to see where INDO will take her next.
We caught up with Victoria down in sunny LA for a chat on adventure, risk-taking, and sustainability.
What sparked your move to Bali in 2019? Had you been there previously or were you going into this adventure completely blind?
My S.O. and I got the sudden urge to move to an island after a year of dating in 2018. Crazy I know haha! We are both pretty spontaneous, adventurous, and love to travel! We both have never been to Bali but knew a couple of friends who have lived there off and on so that may have sparked us to move. Long story short, we planned a Bali trip a few months after our first Bali convo, fell in love, and moved there a year later!
Was there 1 specific bag that inspired you to start INDO? Tell us a little about the struggles or joys of starting the business.
I came across so many beautiful bags in the Bali shops, but the first bag that spoke to me was the Raja Bamboo bag. It is so beautiful and unique, soo of course I was taking tons of pictures of it on my Instagram, and a lot of my friends and family were like how do I get that. This is what initially sparked my interest to start a small business. I ended up going home to visit my family and decided to do a small buy of like 30 pieces - so I took pictures, made a website, and took all the pieces back home with me to ship from LA. Everything ended up selling out; so I went back to Bali, found a couple of suppliers, and made more bags!
There are definitely endless struggles and joys of starting a business. I would say the biggest challenges are working alone and the operation/logistics side. I am much more creative, so operations aren't exactly my strong suit. The biggest joy would have to be my repeat customers!! Repeat customers are definitely a sign you are doing something right, so that always makes me happy.
So we are obsessed with all of the gorgeous photos you posted of Balinese rattan furniture, jewelry, and of course the bags! We love that INDO is all about natural materials and locally handcrafted styles. Can you tell us a little bit about the traditions or processes of these local weavers/makers?
What I love about the local artisans is that the majority of them actually live and work in their villages, so you know a lot of love goes into the product. Both bamboo and ata grass are indigenous to Indonesia and have been used for centuries to weave daily utilitarian objects for their homes. The bags are intricately handcrafted with natural materials over a 4-7 day process - which includes cleaning the plants and woven into their shapes. After this process, they are naturally dried in the sun and smoked in ovens which makes the bags durable and gives them their distinctive color and patina.
Natural is always best! Especially when you consider how the pieces we wear eventually go back to the Earth. It’s so crucial for brands to consider if what they produce can easily decompose or be recycled. Or, will they just sit in a landfill for the next century? Are there any other sustainable practices you implement into your daily routine?
A few things I love to do to support sustainable practices are shop second-hand and vintage, support small brands who are adhering to ethical practices, using reusable shopping totes and water bottles, and driving an EV.
So what’s next for you and INDO? Now that you’re back in LA, do you have plans for any new adventures?
I have always wanted to expand my collection to include items from artisans in other countries. With that said, I am currently in the process of finding new vendors and getting samples from Mexico, Peru, and Columbia!
Check out our styling session with Status Gaea CoFounders, Toni Mills, and Mandy Rivas, as Victoria Acosta shares tips on styling day-to-night summer styles from some of our favorite sustainable brands.