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Building Block

Building Block

bag
Team BB LA

08.29.19
Photography by Ye Rin Mok


Building Block began as a conversation between two sisters about restarting. Before it was a brand, Building Block was a mentality meant to inspire the practice of restraint and the possibilities of form. A purposeful return to square one. An approach to design rooted in quality and inspiration rather than aesthetics or trend. A collection of accessories built for an everyday-kind-of life.

After 8 years, Building Block has retained the same frame of mind and grown from two to a global team of collaborators in Los Angeles, Japan, and Taiwan that include press, development, production, sales, and more. Here in Los Angeles, we’ve established a flagship and design studio where we are a tight group of four women—Team BB LA. It’s a quiet place in Chinatown where we arrive every morning at our own paces; where we share lunches on Fridays and all of the dogs are welcome; where we tear open boxes delivered from production in joint exclamation; and where we work together to discover and rediscover parts of ourselves in considerate, little ways.

Although the introverted part in each of us feels nervous to expose ourselves, we're also proud to show off our own beloved Vegetable Tanned pieces that we've individually aged in our own unique ways throughout the years. Here's a bit from us about us...

Kimberly Wu
Co-Founder and Designer / 35 years old
Beltpack in Veg Tan

What are some things you look forward to this year?

With the end of the year coming up, I feel a calling to be more productive and goal-oriented. Not so much tackling the big stressful things, but little things that belong on a check list in the first place. Like attempting a camping trip, or making a jar of preserved lemons, or downloading an app that makes you exercise. Better late than never.

What's your favorite thing about being your age right now?

The exact age I’m at feels like a crossroad between change and permanence, where decisions are asked to come from a place of adulthood, whether or not I actually feel like an adult. But being able to reason with myself and choosing to move forward with positivity is a welcomed attitude, one that has changed with age. For one thing, at 35 I now happily take my mom’s advice on skin care regimes. But instead of preventing wrinkles, I’m actively attempting to change the course of how my face ages. I heard somewhere that what you look like in old age has much to do with whether you’ve spent most of your time smiling or frowning. So, I guess in my mid-thirties, I’m smiling for one reason or another.

Do you keep any relics close to you at all times (on your body, in your bag)?

In my wallet at all times are: A couple handwritten notes from my husband from when we first started dating (which were originally accompanied by my favorite cookie, left in my mailbox). Little drawings from Nancy written in a secret language.


Nancy Wu
Co-Founder and Designer / 33 years old
Iphone Sling in Veg Tan

What are some things you look forward to this year?

I'd like to return to an old habit of drawing freely in the morning. To start the day with some aimless doodling—without a direct plan or claim at success. I am looking forward to surrendering my hand to this mindless ritual as a way of gaining momentum for the day.

What's your favorite thing about being your age right now?

Feeling that I've actually accomplished something by now—that all of the mistakes were meant to happen, that all of the earlier doubts and fits of panic from my 20's have cemented into a general foundation of knowing that this is what I am supposed to be doing, right here right now. Also the excitement of knowing that there are many more mistakes to be made so long as there is still more that I want to do.

Do you keep any relics close to you at all times (on your body, in your bag)?

There is perpetually a single postage stamp and a band-aid tucked in my coin purse. You never know when you'll need to make someone feel better or send a postcard.


Annie Morrison
Accounts Manager / 32 years old
Ada Mules in Veg Tan

What are some things you look forward to this year?

I recently cleaned and restored my alto saxophone, which I've owned since I was 12 years old, so I'm looking forward to playing music as a practice of self-care.

What's your favorite thing about being your age right now?

Tough question! I'll preface with a bit from Oscar Wilde, who said, "The soul is born old but grows young." I am definitely an old soul, enjoying the chance to grow young with each passing day and experience.

Do you keep any relics close to you at all times (on your body, in your bag)?

I feel totally vulnerable without a ring or two or three, so I’m usually wearing jewelry at all times.


Kate Ni
Studio Administrator and Ecomm Manager / 25 years old
Puck in Veg Tan

What are some things you look forward to this year?

Looking forward to being less anxious and focusing more on learning, healing, and growing–with BB and beyond. More daytime reading by the pool, traveling to sunny places, and (attempting to make) dinners at home. Also, Fall means Halloween–my favorite time of year.

What's your favorite thing about being your age right now?

Never thinking about it! Which is very much a privilege.

Do you keep any relics close to you at all times (on your body, in your bag)?

I have the not-great habit of leaving things inside bags and never taking anything out (a habit I very much get from my mother), so I am constantly finding relics every time I take a bag out from my now-expansive BB closet. I change what bag I carry based on function, mood, and occasion, so i've become accustomed to re-discovering things inside my bag that tell me what I was doing and feeling the last time I carried it.


Check out Building Block's collection of Veg Tan Leather products.
Or discover more in person at the Building Block shop in Chinatown, Los Angeles.

Shop The Style
970 N Broadway, Unit 104
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 803-3420
Wed–Sat 12–7pm, Sun 12–5pm
Closed Mon and Tues