The idea for a handbag that extends to a shopping bag came to me a year ago. Whilst I was getting lunch from the local supermarket I realised that I couldn’t fit everything into my bag and I would have to use an additional plastic carrier, not exactly eco friendly and not great for my image ! 

I’ve worked on drawings and making up samples in calico. All the time thinking about the simplest form and functionality of the product.

Through the British Library IP centre, I was given free advice and met an IP adviser. Although the idea could not be patented it could be design registered. For design registration I needed to submit drawings and notes about my idea, which cost £60. www.ipcentre.org/

Developing my own design ideas alongside others who have professional and technical advice is so important, and through the wonderful world wide web, I found Denise Pearson of Deni-Deni, www.denideni.com/, a professional handbag and sampler maker/designer, her studio produced patterns and a beautiful sample bag for me.

With the sampler I was able to ask friends their thoughts and opinions, I really needed to know if they would buy the bag and for how much! The surprising aspect was the difference in price that they would pay for the bag (£15-£150). I want to be able to produce a bag that can retail between £80-£90.

Finding a manufacturer was, and is at present the most difficult aspect of this whole adventure. Originally I found a manufacturer in East London that has a tannery and factory in India. Looking at their work, which was really good, I was upset that not more thought had gone into my sample that they produced for me. I was just a very small fish in their big sea. I think that it is really fundamental to have a beautiful manufactured sample, after all this is what I am going to sell.

Feeling disappointed, I flew to Milan for the Mipel Bag exhibition (Mipel occurs twice a year, and is a must for anyone interested in bags!)  www.mipel.it/. 

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