In the beginning I thought it would be easy. Or, at least, I wasn't really concerned about it being too hard. I failed to perceive how frustratingly slow the process would be, however.
Mary came up with the idea for the handbag over a year ago. She had been wanting to start her own business for a while, but just hadn’t landed on the right idea. She'd started, exhaustively researched, and terminated several pretty good, but-probably-not-lucrative-enough-given-her-lack-of-passion-for-the-product, ideas. The handbag struck us all as both lucrative enough and creatively challenging in a way that would sustain our passion and interest in the product for the long-haul. (Read, through the drudgery and hard work of establishing a small business.) The bottom line was that we all really wanted this bag for ourselves.
The three of us were very excited and anxious to get Bija going as soon as we could. Let’s just say we had a ridiculously unrealistic expectation of how long it would take to find the right leather, find the right manufacturer, put all the marketing pieces together, and actually bring the bag to the consumer. In March, we thought we could pick out leather in summer colors and be able to get them to market in time. Typing this now, I realize how utterly ridiculous it sounds.
Cow pebble-finish Italian leather in Yellow-Gold, Fucshia, Lipstick, and Tangerine: Aren't these great summer colors?
You see, we didn't just want to slap a cheap bag together and start turning a profit based on volume, a lá "fast fashion." Part of the point of Bija is to make an ethically and environmentally conscious product. To us, that means making a product that will last a long time, not one that you purchase now and throw away next season; and that means using the best quality Italian leather, paying attention to the leather tanning and dyeing process, finding an American manufacturer to stitch the bag perfectly, and choosing a timeless and simple design.
This bag is all those things
Naturally, this process took us to the New York Garment District. Or, rather, it took Moira and Mary to the Garment District. I stayed home and worked on our logo design.
'Til next time, here’s me, loving the Bija in Black: