Monday, October 18, 2010

Good things come in small packages (the Sarah bag)

Counting my chickens
When I completed the first ever Sarah bag prototype this past Spring, I thought I had a "Where Has This Bag Been All My Life?" moment...
The idea for Sarah came very naturally, yet I was surprised with the final outcome.

I had previously spent several days tweaking the sketch, picking a suitable leather and making some final decisions to the design... I wanted a compact original shoulder bag for the upcoming Pre-Fall collection, and I hoped to re-use the trusted Western Rounded sack structure for it.

I decided to add space to the traditional Country style by darting the bottom for expansion; I also wanted an innovative strap, which would be practical, and add décor to the bag at the same time.

I came off with a double loop bridle strap, tied to the hardware with knots for length adjustment. I loved the lyrical twist, my interconnecting loops brought to the design. And then came the asymmetric ruffles…

The Sarah bag is a mix of both, feminine and industrial; a combination of Country tradition and modernization.

  The very first Sarah prototype was cut in Ivory 2.5 oz garment weight leather; followed by other colours and leather types. I could not wait to launch my new, back then still nameless, style at art shows. I hoped it may catch on as a lightweight option for both moms and daughters; day or night; casual or special occasion.

Ivory coloured Prototype
I did think of it as the “nice little bag”, but back then in no way could I predict the audience’s response to it….

Sarah launched at the Portobello West market in March, alongside the rest of Jola V. Designs family. That’s where it eventually got its name too – a fabulous local shopper, who picked up the LAST of the bags on the first market day, was named Sarah…

My “nice little bag” had a few surprises in store for me. Since the minute I set up my booth at Portobello West, and subsequently, other shows, it started flying off the table to its new homes; eventually causing actual buyer line-ups at the stall. I had received avid admiration for the bag, leading to sell-outs, custom orders and requests; and the pace continued into the retail as well.

Sarah is responsible for one of my biggest eye-opening moments; when I realized that fashion driven people actually respond to…. my original design. I have had a few “hits” prior to this one, but it was the interest in Sarah, that boosted my confidence as an accessories designer.

With its merely 10” length, roomy interior, long strap and flirty ruffles, Sarah undoubtedly became the little hurricane to stir up all my production plans, sweep my lack of confidence aside, and help me focus on doing what I love, listening and responding to the demand. It also increased interest in many of my other styles and sent some returned customers my way....

Since then I came up with a Limited Edition of the Sarah bag, applying floral décor, for a change to the famous ruffles; and a high end Limited Finish Sarah for the Coming Of Age FAST mini-collection.
Limited Edition Sarah

We will be returning to this winter`s markets with many new – and tried and tested colours for Sarah; some of the new shades have popped up in Retail in late September….

My ``Nice little bag`` has taught me to trust my instincts, when it comes to creating. It also has once again proved, that the strongest ideas come from the heart. I would like to dedicate the Sarah bag story to all creators amongst us, who are on the way of finding themselves;

Trust what you do – and do what you love. The love will be returned.

Fall and Spring colours


  1. "Where Has This Bag Been All My Life?"
    That was my exact response to the ivory prototype I saw you wearing (and managed to trade it out of your hands, somehow...).
    It's a perfect bag to carry all the everyday stuff, and the design is pretty but not too frilly.
    I love everything about it and am excited to see all the new colours you pick for it.
    It was the first bag I got from you and certainly not the last one :-)
    Way to go!

    And thank you for the reminder and words of encouragement to trust your own instincts. It is true, and the love will be returned - sooner or later...!

  2. Thank you, Dear -
    I have a lot of faith in Instincts. When you're creating, there hardly is another pillar to lean on, but that.
    I am really glad you like the bag too! And needless to say, I absolutely Looove what you do...

  3. That's really a cool post. I am impressed. Keep it up.

    Leather Jackets Online,
    Men Leather Jackets