At Erno Laszlo, we’re all about ambition. It takes courage to carve your own path, and that’s exactly what Bembien founder Yi-Mei Truxes did when she created her own company. Bembien is a line of effortlessly chic accessories, with a focus on straw bags, handmade by artisan weavers in Bali. We’re so inspired by her that we knew she had to be our next Glowdown profile. Keep reading to find out her one tip for fellow future entrepreneurs, how the Balinese weavers inspired her, and more!


What gave you the confidence to launch your own brand?
I never knew I wanted to start my own brand, but I had reached a point in my career where I wanted to see if I could build something from scratch on my own. It took a ton of confidence (that I didn’t even know I had!) but I think what really got me through those beginning days was the conviction to see if I could make something happen.

What was it like to become an overnight success? How did that happen?
I wouldn’t necessarily say it was an overnight success! But I have timing and friends to thank for any momentum Bembien experienced in our first year. We launched at the exact moment that straw handbags started becoming trendy, which made our products something editors had reason to write about and wear. But most of all, Bembien wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the incredible support of family and friends.

Tell us about the difference between working for a large company and working for yourself.
Everything! Absolutely, everything. There is a lot of self-discipline that comes into play, which I think doesn’t exist as much when you’re working for a larger company and feel accountable to a team. On one hand, it can feel incredibly liberating to be the keeper of your own schedule — and on the other, working for yourself can be a bit isolating. I think the most important thing to remember (whether while working for yourself or for a larger company) is the importance of community. I loved feeling a part of something when I was working at a large company, and feel so fortunate to have found a new community as an entrepreneur among fellow female business owners (many of whom have now become some of my closest friends).

 

 

Tell us a little bit about the artisan weavers in Bali. How did you find them and what drew you to their work?
They are the most incredible, talented women. Balinese culture has a serene and peaceful energy, that is embodied by every piece they create. There is a certain precision and thoughtfulness that simply cannot be recreated in a larger factory setting. (Every Bembien bag is made by one of our female artisans in the comfort of her own home.) I was fortunate enough to be connected to the artisans by a woman I met in Bali, who now heads up my production.


What’s one tip you have for anyone who is considering creating their own company or brand?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people around you! There is nothing more powerful than the community of people around you.


Walk us through your typical weekday skincare routine.
I keep things pretty simple, but the two things I do twice a day are wash my face and moisturize. When I can (and especially when on the road) I try to do a mask at night before going to bed to take a moment for self-care.

 

What’s your go-to Erno Laszlo product and why?
The Multi-Task Eye Serum Mask! It’s de-stressing, cooling, and perfect for traveling.


Who is your #1 beauty icon?
Currently: Jeanne Damas. I’m in constant awe of what a timeless beauty she is.


What’s one thing that you love about yourself and why?
Oh gosh. Maybe my hair? It grows incredibly fast, which takes the pressure off of experimenting with length, color, etc.


What is your number one skincare goal?
Hydrated, happy skin.

 

What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day?
A glass of wine with my fiancé at a little corner spot in our neighborhood that we love going to. We love to sit outside, people-watch and take a step back from the craziness of our days.


Rapid Fire
Red lip or nude lip?
Nude.
Flats or heels?
Flats.
Night out on the town or in with a glass of wine?
Glass of wine.
Cats or dogs?
Cats.
Current favorite song?
So Long by Lake Street Dive.
What is your zodiac sign?
Virgo.

 


Sentence Finishers
My guilty Instagram follow is…
@jerseyicecreamco! I’m obsessed with their renovation work, and it wildly derails my day every time I watch their stories! Honestly, I should probably unfollow so I don’t get so distracted!
My favorite beauty trend is...
natural everything. Natural skincare and natural makeup.
A woman I admire is…
my old boss from Vogue, Melissa Halverson.
I always travel with my…
eye mask.
My fridge is always filled with…
some good aged gouda.

Last Thing You Did
Last book you read?
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
Last movie you watched?
Green Book.
Last place you traveled to?
Milos, Greece.
Last thing you ate?
Lunch: pesto rice with kale and a poached egg.
Last thing you took a picture of that you didn’t put on Instagram?
My fiancé, Gray.