A New Wave of Repurposing Handbags starts with Cigaros

When you see trash tossed to the side, you may think nothing of it. It is junk, nothing worth saving, and nothing worth looking at. However, the new segment of repurposing in the fashion industry is seeing the beauty in this “trash”.  This beauty has created a market for authentic, original pieces we have never seen before. While in Cuba, Pegah Dehghanian saw the beauty in their trash. She saw riveting colors, authentic illustrations, and unique designs in something labeled as u wanted. From there, Cigaros Handbags was created and it is something you never knew you needed.

Photo Credit: Cigaros Handbags

What is the story behind Cigaros Handbags?

The idea of Cigaros Handbags started when I visited Cuba back in May 2019. My family and I love to travel. We take a yearly international trip, and that year we decided to cruise to Cuba for a week. While in these different international countries, I like to immerse myself in their culture. I always like to bring a piece back with me home. So in Cuba, naturally, I decided to bring back Cuban rum and Cuban cigars. While buying the cigars in the cigar shop, I noticed they had a bunch of beautifully colored, empty cigar boxes just tossed to the side, ready to throw away. Long story short, I bought them, brought them back, and boom, Cigaros Handbags was born!

You may be one of the firsts with a repurposing handbag company. What do you see in the future for the repurposing industry?

Honestly, I see a lot of repurposing clothing brands, whether small businesses or large corporation-based, but not many accessory-based businesses. I think the “repurposing and upcycling” community will expand in the very near future because environmental change has become a huge issue. This sounds cliche, but we have to start using the resources that are already given to us by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Constantly producing new products is unnecessary (to an extent) and we just continue to fill the landfills with junk. It’s time to change that!
Photo Credit: Cigaros Handbags

Being a woman and a person of color has its daily obstacles. I’m sure entrepreneurship is no different. What challenges have you faced so far in your journey?

Not only am I a woman and a person of color, but I’m also young, which makes things even harder. When you are trying to really get your foot in the door of the fashion world, people underestimate you. You’re a young woman in charge with a different sense of style than most. They doubt you, they second guess you, and they downplay your potential. Although this hasn’t and will never stop me, it has been a small challenge that I’ve learned to master.

Besides the doubts of everyone else in the industry, what is something that challenged you in your business?  

My biggest challenge is keeping myself on a set schedule and adhering to my own deadlines. Do you think finishing a project for your boss before the deadline or turning in an assignment for school is stressful?! Imagine how crappy you feel when you give yourself a deadline (with wiggle room), and you still don’t hit it. Talk about disappointment. I’m working on holding myself more accountable so I don’t feel that self-disappointment anymore.

I am truly in love with the idea of taking something you discovered in another country and bringing it home. You are from Atlanta. Do you see Atlanta as a major fashion city or becoming one?

I wouldn’t be the person I was today if I wasn’t raised and based out of Atlanta. I think that has a lot to do with the way I express myself through the way I dress. We tend to set trends in Atlanta. I think people love the melting pot dynamic of this city. We are full of creatives, artists and just all-around talented folks. I don’t see that ceasing anytime soon.

Photo Credit: Cigaros Handbags

What piece of advice would you give to up-and-coming designers out of Atlanta?

No matter what, always stay true to yourself and stay consistent. People can see right through the try-hard and fakeness, especially in this city (haha). It’s always best to be your true individualistic self and people will just naturally gravitate towards you.  Stay consistent! YOU ARE YOUR BIGGEST FAN. You better represent yourself as you’ve never represented before. Wear your brand every time you step out of the house. Post those Instagram pictures every day. Whatever it is you do, don’t stop until you hit that goal.

Lastly, Where do you see your own brand in five years?

I hope to make a name for myself. I hope that in the next five years, my brand and name will be mentioned to people that I used to read in the news. I hope my brand name pops up when opening your next fashion magazine. I hope to have my own runway show one day. I want to put my family and my city on the map.

To keep up Pegah and Cigaros Handbags, visit the website here.