Accessories brand ai Toronto Seoul has partnered with beloved Canadian media gal Tanya Kim on a hands-free vegan leather bag and compatible dog leash ($175, available online from April 11th, 2021) every pooch mom or pop is going to want to rock this spring. We chatted with TK about the collab, and got the 411 on her very own rescue pup, Mabel. —Vita Daily
Hi Tanya! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
Hi, I’m Tanya but you can call me TK! I’m a proud Korean-Canadian, passionate dog mom, media personality/producer and storyteller. As a former co-anchor of CTV’s eTalk and host of Entertainment City on Breakfast Television, I welcomed over a decade of opportunities to go one-on-one with Hollywood’s biggest stars and report live from prestigious events and red carpets including the Academy Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Grammy Awards and more. I also consider myself to be a health and wellness warrior, who loves to inspire and encourage good physical and mental health through movement and mindfulness. Last but definitely not least, I’m a proud mom to my two emotional support dogs, Mabel and Frankie, and a passionate animal advocate sharing my love and support as an Ambassador for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Your collab with ai has yielded The Mabel: a limited-edition hands-free vegan leather bag and compatible dog leash. How did this partnership come about, and why was it a good fit for you?
I’ve really been leaning in to living a much more plant-forward lifestyle, so I was over the moon when I first discovered ai while looking online for a little retail therapy. I immediately became obsessed with their gorgeous handbags the minute I learned they use only PETA-approved vegan leather; I still marvel at the luxe quality of their vegan leather and the craftsmanship of their bags. Stunning! Bags and accessories aside, I love the fact that a family of Korean-Canadian women (Hannah, Joanna and Rebekah have become the sisters I never had!) is leading this sustainably luxurious brand. The minute we met I knew we were kindred spirits; likeminded women who share similar core values.
With National Pet Day coming up on April 11th, please tell us about your rescue dog! What was the rescue process like, and what are some of the challenges and rewards that came with it? Top tips around and/or why would you recommend rescuing a pet?!
We didn’t rescue Mabel in a conventional way like from a registered rescue or animal shelter; we “rescued” Mabel from someone whose personal situation had become unmanageable. But, let’s be real, Mabel (and every fur baby) is no doubt the one who did the rescuing. If you’re looking to add a furry member to your family remember that they will be just that: another member of the family. There are so many (too many) animals in need of a second chance at living their best lives, the best lives they deserve for giving you all the unconditional love in return. Do your research. Be mindful in your decision-making. Be prepared.
More on the product itself: what makes it unique, and why is this a must-have for fur mamas?
Not just for fur mamas, The Mabel is unique and a must-have for all fur pawrents. I designed it to be inclusive! It’s not only super luxe and stylish but also highly functional for both human and fur baby. As a dog mom of two, I found myself almost always having my hands full during our walks. Forget about answering a business call! I thought, there’s got to be a better way to be productive (if need be) and functional during these outings while still looking super fresh! The Mabel bag comes with not one but two convertible straps offering the human two different ways to wear it solo, and is sustainable luxury at its best: the interior lining of the bag is made with 100 per cent recycled plastic water bottles. I designed The Mabel’s vegan leather, hands-free, perfectly compatible dog leash with a built-in traffic lead for more control as well as a double-eye swivel to prevent twisting for the utmost comfort for both human and doggo. It’s also waterproof, stink-proof, easy to clean and very durable (with a breaking strength of 1,000 pounds)!
Why is working alongside female-founded BIPOC-owned businesses like ai Toronto Seoul important to you?
As we’ve all witnessed over the course of the past year, the global pandemic has and continues to wreak havoc on small businesses across our city, our country and the world. Coupled with the terrifying and heartbreaking events of rampant racism and violence perpetrated especially against Asian women and Asian elders in recent weeks, it’s never been more important to support BIPOC-owned, female-led businesses. As a proud Korean-Canadian woman, I implore our community to rise up, stand up, SPEAK OUT! Be true active allies for BIPOC here in Canada and around the world.
How do you plan to celebrate Miss Mabel on National Pet Day?!
In my home, we celebrate Mabel AND Frankie EVERY. DAMN. DAY! Woo hoo!
Win! A $175 ai x TK Mabel Vegan Leather Bag & Compatible Dog Leash!
Congrats Malania D. of Vancouver, B.C., who will receive a $175 ai x TK Mabel vegan leather bag and compatible dog leash! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.