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“Design is one of those things you just have to dive into head first.”
Being an entrepreneur in the fashion industry: I talk with Texas-based Festival Bag Co.
founder and designer Kelly Weeks
on how to launch a design brand while working full time.
One of the things I admire most about the creative people I interview for Shift
is their ability to back their ideas, their talents and their brand – often while juggling full-time work!
And that is exactly what Kelly Weeks is doing. She’s about to launch her new label, Festival Bag Co.
, after a year of design, product development, sample making and everything else that comes with launching a company – all while working her ‘day job’ in digital advertising.
And what’s better – Kelly is producing all her waxed canvas bags in her home city of Austin, Texas.
|Kelly has designed the bags to go easily from
satchel to backpack – versatility!
“If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, go for it,” Kelly encourages.
“Launching a business can seem daunting with the never-ending to-do lists, especially with another full-time job, but it’s definitely do-able if it’s something you enjoy.”
A key aspect for Kelly has been to build and stay true to a core brand identity. And central to this is a commitment to ethically producing bags with sustainability, durability and flexibility in mind.
“If you end up sacrificing core elements of your product or brand identity, it’s easy to get lost. It’s always beneficial to welcome input from others, but be sure to balance that with your own intuition,” Kelly says.
“After spending time working in sustainability and corporate responsibility I learned how big of an impact the fashion industry has on the environment and on the communities where things are made, so these are very important to me in both my suppliers and manufacturers, and also in my own business process.
“The bags are built to last, in contrast to the idea of fast fashion.”
“The waxed canvas outer is a great, animal-friendly alternative to leather that is super durable, water resistant, and fashionable.
“My hope is that people who buy my bags will keep them for years, and will be able to mix up the style by changing out the straps for a different look.”
|Each bag will come with a matching pouch inside
for when you have less to carry
One of my hopes for the future of fashion is this practical idea of mix-and-match, or changing one element to suit your style or mood, rather than just buying a new item.
This is an approach we can all take even with our current wardrobe, asking ourselves “what else could I wear this with?” making it feel like a whole new outfit.
It’s all systems go for Kelly Weeks, as she prepares to have her first range of Festival Bag Co. bags ready for the holiday season.
“Beyond that, I hope for steady growth and increased brand awareness in 2017, with the potential to launch my bag in new sizes and colours, and with new strap options by next Fall,” Kelly says.
Kelly’s final advice to anyone wanting to launch a design label?
“Have fun!…and always remember why you started.”
Keep an eye on this rising young brand!
|Samples and design phase for Festival Bag Co.