Name : Sarah Newman
Country : United Kingdom
Brand Name : The Saddlebag
When did you start your business ? 15/09/2014
Your products / designs in a few words // Saddlebag Trading handbags are quintessentially British with a twist. This classic design has the ability to be updated in multiple ways, and we see the saddlebag as a blank canvas to create many spin offs. A saddlebag is a steadfast staple to any wardrobe, and Saddlebag Tradings aim is to be your go to handbag for any occassion.
Why did you start your business // Saddlebag Trading grew from my textiles background, having a BA from Brighton and an MA from Chelsea in textile design. I was always told I had a keen eye for colour and I work very graphically (my specialism being printed textiles) and Saddlebag Trading was a natural progression for me. There are so many avenues to explore with the single shape/minimalistic style of a saddlebag that I doubt I will ever run out of ideas of ways to manipulate its design!
Where do you find your inspiration // Saddlebag Trading is three years old now and we feel established enough to start to really have a play around with our designs. Our latest bags have gorgeous studwork and the design in the pipeline at the moment will be our most adventurous to date with alot of laser cut work. I like to emphasise the bags traditions and history without comprimising its shape, so at the moment alot of my idea’s explore leatherwork over the centuries and making it relevant now.
How would you describe your customer base // Saddlebag Tradings diversity means we have customers who are teens to ladies in their 70’s who had a saddlebag the first time round! We have women who have Chanel handbags come and buy three in all different colours for their summer holidays, and women who are replacing their staple handbag and buy a classic tan for everyday wear. It’s like wearing a pair of converse with a balmain blazer….mix it up a bit – why the hell not?
Your biggest challenge // As a small business….where do I start?! We are lucky that our bags are British made so I can work closely with my manufacturers and really get to know them and their processes. But, this in turn creates it’s own problems, mostly with mark ups and we struggle to meet high street retailers wholesale requirements.
Your biggest success // The growth Saddlebag Trading saw in 2015 was quite something, and Christmas was crazy! We are still quite young and and any form of success, big or small, is really special to us. In year one we were very lucky to win (we had to pitch Dragons Den style!) a whole unit in Boxpark, which really helped launch us a brand.
Where do you see your business/brand in 5 years // Creatively being more adventurous and letting go of some of the inhibitions and concerns that I have a small business owner/designer. I really want to stretch the saddlebags boundaries (if there are any). Saddlebag Trading will hopefully peak the interest of even the most hardcore of fashionistas. The Saddlebag Trading brand will be a big one to work on, with a website overhaul and brand strengthening through product and marketing.
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