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How I Launched a Handbag Empire

How I became a handbag designerBack in the late 90s, Martha Stewart was my go-to source for inspiration, particularly her ingenious “Good Things” section brimming with crafty ideas. One day, I stumbled upon her story about crafting “little brown lunch bags” from red felt with charming pinked edges. Enamored by the concept, I promptly purchased some felt and fashioned these bags to wrap my holiday gifts, much to everyone’s delight.

As I worked on these gift bags, a spark of inspiration struck me. Why not tweak the design, add handles, and transform them into fashionable handbags? The idea danced in my mind for months, but I lacked the courage and know-how to pursue it. I envisioned my creations on store shelves beside renowned brands like Kate Spade’s, but the fear of failure held me back.

It took a casual Sunday brunch with a friend to jolt me out of my inertia. Over a meal, I stumbled upon an article about a woman who, much like me, had ventured into the realm of handbag design. Yet, to my dismay, her creations fell short of the mark, unlike my envisioned designs, brimming with charm and creativity.

My frustration spilled out, and my friend, sensing my pent-up passion, urged me to take action. With a mix of apprehension and determination, I embarked on a journey into the unknown world of entrepreneurship.

Lacking experience in the industry, I was clueless about where to begin. While I had supervised garment manufacturing for movies, crafting handbags was uncharted territory. Armed with a bold spirit and a trip to the fabric store, I selected pristine white felt for my initial prototype.

How I launched a Handbag Empire

Expecting smooth sailing due to my background in garment construction, I soon encountered the harsh reality—I was no seamstress. Tears and frustration punctuated my efforts as I struggled through trial and error. But with unwavering perseverance, I finally birthed my first sample—a perfect reflection of my initial vision, nestled proudly on a shelf in my office, a testament to my humble beginnings.

Thus began my journey from Martha Stewart’s “Good Things” to the creation of my own original prototypes, a testament to the transformative power of inspiration and the courage to chase one’s dreams.

Want me to help you launch your empire?  Book a call with me https://sarahshawconsulting.com/sarahshaw/apply-case-study/schedule-strategy-session/

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Written by Sarah Shaw

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