The Desktop: ONA Bags founder Tracy Foster

An office can tell you a lot about a creator, and we instantly fell in love with Tracy Foster’s cozy yet chic space and her line of handcrafted leather camera bags at WeWork Soho West.

Whether she’s working on the latest collection in her accessories line, ONA Bags, or decorating her office, Foster is first and foremost an entrepreneur. She was inspired to start her own company while on  vacation in South Africa when she recognized a need for SLR camera bags that offered both function and style. She set her idea into motion in 2010,  launching her company based on a simple vision: To offer style-conscious photographers and photography enthusiasts camera bags that complement their lifestyles.

The guiding principles behind Foster’s style are simplicity and comfort, evident in both her office décor and her ONA line. “We’ve had several guests come in and say it feels like we’re welcoming them into our own little living room,” she says. “That’s pretty much what we’re going for.”

We chatted with Foster as part of The Desktop — a series that highlights interesting (and always inviting) offices at WeWork. Foster shares where she draws inspiration from inside these glass walls.

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“I’ve found that working in a comfortable space — one that’s clean, well organized, and free of clutter — increases the quality and efficiency of my work. We tried to decorate our office so that it has a nice energy and really complements who we are as a brand.”

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 “In Swahili, the word ona (pronounced ō’na) means, “to feel,” “to believe,” and “to experience with the eyes.” I see this as the essence of both  photography and style.”

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“The large clock is from Crate & Barrel, as are most of the frames. All of the photos on our gallery wall are special to us: Most of them are shots of ONA bags that were taken by customers and shared via social media. One is a favorite from my trip to South Africa where I was inspired to create ONA, and there are several prints of New York City — our favorite city.”

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“I love clean, simple design. Our design process is driven by a desire to create simple, beautiful products that complement your style and protect your camera gear. Our bags are all handcrafted in the Dominican Republic.”

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100 | 50 | 1 is a photo exhibit that brought together fifty of the world’s most talented mobile photographers to showcase portraits they captured using their smartphones. This book, created by Artifact Uprising, is a compilation of photos from the exhibit — all of the photos are amazing and it’s a fun piece for our staff and guests to peruse. ONA was honored to sponsor a photowalk in San Francisco as part of the event last year.”

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“I think that plants bring life and color to a workspace, and it’s especially important if the office doesn’t have natural light. We got all of our plants in the Flower District and our little terrariums are from West Elm.”

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“Thank you cards are included with every order. We want all of our customers to know how much we appreciate them, and we strive to create a product and a shopping experience that exceeds expectations.”20140507 Ona Bags The Desktop-17

“Our leather is sourced from various tanneries, but most of our all-leather products use a gorgeous leather from Italy that develops a rich patina over time.”20140507 Ona Bags The Desktop-23

The Brooklyn bag is inspired by the classic 1940s school satchel. It’s a timeless design — I think that’s why our customers love it so much. The bag that I’ve been wearing the most this spring is my Chelsea bag in black. I love the saffiano leather and it’s just the right size for toting my camera and personal items around the city.”!!20140326 Tracy Foster Ona Bags-19

Photographs by Lauren Kallen

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