Federica - My Salty Journey
Fede Surfbags is a small Italian brand, designed and handpainted by graphic artist Federica Ubertone. Leaving a safe job in the office and taking the rough road to happiness, launching her beautiful brand, she´s succeded to create something unique made with salty vibration under fairtrade working condition. So happy we could have a chat with her about her amazing journey!
FIRSTLY, FEDERICA, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF...
Hello! I’m Federica, owner & designer at Fede Surfbags. I live near Rome, by the sea with my 9ft surfboard and a little white dog.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS.
Focused, impulsive, open-hearted.
WHEN DID YOU START SURFING AND HOW DOES SURFING INSPIRE YOU?
A good friend initiates me in Devon, England a few years ago. A nice sunny day of May. He taught me the basic and after that, he left me alone to go surfing out there. For a few hours I was back and forth in the white foam with a huge smile on my face. Same today when I ride my kind of perfect glassy wave. Surfing inspires me mostly because of its energy, but also because of the surfers I´ve met. I´ve fallen in love with the classic surfers, how they move and dance in the water. Their life are filled with adventures and stories but at the same time I love the simple lifestyle behind it all.
HOW DID YOU CAME UP WITH THE IDEA TO START FEDE SURFBAGS AND WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING IN THE BEGINNING?
I adore surfboards, and for my first one, I decided to shape myself. A fishtail bonzer with the Shaper Studio crew in San Diego. I wanted to paint it after, but I never had the courage to do it, so I made a canvas bag instead, and painted it. I was so happy about the bag´s function, protecting my surfboard on the daily beach going, combined with the style. Keeping my board fresh on the inside and super funky on the outside.
The hardest thing in the beginning was after I set up the e-commerce. Straight after the first design success on social media, I added an e-commerce on my graphic design website. The hardest thing was waiting for the first order to arrive. Same as the surfing tought me, I didn’t gave-up, and the first orders arrived.
WHAT DIFFICULTIES DO YOU FACE NOW, RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND ALSO, WHAT´S THE BEST PART ABOUT RUNNING FEDE SURFBAGS?
The difficult part is managing my own schedule, I’m not really a well organized person but I’m improving day after day. Since I’m impulsive, it sometimes happens that I take a last minute trip, because of a surf event or a place where I want to go. So running everything all by myself, when I travel, is not easy. I like to travel in non-touristy places where usually there is a bad, or no, wifi service at all, so I can’t manage it all. And it’s hard to trust a person that would take care of all, with the same love as you put in. But I’m facing this challenge too. The best part, is that I never get bored, there is lot to do and I love it. I had a few office jobs and usually, after one year working in the same place, I felt I couldn’t learn more. With Fede Surfbags is never like that, every day I learn something new. It’s a never-ending learning process. Moreover I can decide who I want to collaborate and work with at my own pace.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A USUAL DAY FOR YOU?
I wake up early every day, I love sunrise, have a coffee and checking waves with my dog. If there is no surf, I go back to my studio at home, on computer or making a bag, depending on the tasks of the day. Most of the bags are made to be ordered online, hand-painted one by one and are totally customizable. There is always a lot to do... from making to promoting. Usually, at sunset, I go for a walk. And the rest is chill, reading a book, going out for dinner or just watching a film with friends.
HOW DO YOU OVERCOME CREATIVE BLOCKS?
I have a continuous work-flow, so I usually don’t have creative block. Meaning that when I work on a project, more ideas are coming up. Last year I had one big block about social media, I just wanted to take a break from it. There is so much great stuff going on there but sometimes you’re overloaded and you can’t really see anything. This year I will schedule a month off, maybe with a take-over or something like that, to prevent the need of a switch off.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
I have a long list. A part from sea-food, a good day of surf, friends, travel, learning new things and last but not least... making another person happy.
WHAT MOTTO DO YOU LIVE BY?
I´ve already found what I love, so definitely just keep it simple.
ANY ADVICE FOR GIRLS WANTING TO START A BRAND?
This is the most challenging experience I have ever had, and the brand is literally self-funding. Additionally, I’m doing just about everything by myself. So I highly recommend, before you start, to surround yourself by people who will support this adventure, especially if it will be a solo one. So talk with people, forge connections, get funding if possible and listen to stories with an open-heart.
WHAT NEW PROJECTS DO YOU HAVE IN THE PIPELINE?
A mind-blowing new collection of surf & travel bags out next spring. And I’m currently working to showcase few pieces of Fede Surfbags in selected shops, hopefully all around the globe.
Pink Jungle video directed by Michele Lorusso with surfers Makala H. Smith, Karina Rozunko & Lola Mignot.