Bespoke and Unique
During the last few weeks I’ve been kept really busy with a steady stream of lovely commissions from my fabulous ‘Bespokers’. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and it’s lovely to receive so much positive feedback about the bags I have been making. The one thing which seems to be most important to customers is that my bespoke service allows them to create exactly the bag they want. In return, I enjoy the challenge of finding stylish solutions to their needs. Whilst I often find myself scratching my head as to how I can create a stylish wheelchair bag or a rucksack which can display a teddy bear on the front it’s giving me a much wider repertoire of features which I can offer to new customers.
I grew up in the Midlands with a very unusual first name and I think this may well have started my passion for the unique. Whilst I used to dream of having a name people could spell (or at least pronounce) I’ve grown to realise that it can be rather nice to stand out from the crowd. Many of my customers appreciate this quality. I take my promise that ‘we never make 2 bags the same’ very seriously. Every single creation is a ‘one off’. Whilst it might be quicker, easier and cheaper to produce multiples of a particular bag this isn’t what StowBags is about. I want each bag to make it’s new owner feel special and handcrafting each item individually lets you do that.
Pursuing the unique begins way before the sewing. A lot of time goes into researching which fabrics are available. As more and more of my creations use showerproof fabrics I have to do more and more research to track down a good range of designs. Many of my clients are thrilled to hear that the fabric for their bag isn’t available in the UK and has had to be imported. I’m particularly drawn to quirky, retro and vintage fabrics and happy to use suppliers in the US and Hong Kong to track them down. It’s just another element in offering something which no one else will have.
When I am approached with a bespoke order I aim to provide clients with a range of fabrics to chose from. Once exterior and lining fabrics are chosen we can then talk about the details of the design. Quite often the main bag shapes form the basis of this: Tilly (practical travel Messenger), Alex (standard Messenger bag), Natalie (Shopping Tote), Gilly (Beach Bag), Lolly (Small Commute Bag), Kath (Retro Clutch Bag), Charlie (Drawstring Bag), Boom (Rucksack Style). Customers can then chose the dimensions for their bag and any additional features which they need. This is a great way to ensure you get the bag of your dreams or to create a truly unique gift with a special personalisation.
The credit for developing these additional features lies at least in part with the customers who request them. Pockets with external access for headphones, elasticated drink supports, waterproof umbrella pockets, mesh re-inforcement for supporting hairdressing equipment – the list goes on and on. This is the part of the work which gets me thinking and is so very rewarding. I look forward to the new challenges from ‘a Gym bag with an 80s aerobics vibe’ to a ‘Messenger bag with Ipad and Iphone compartments and a Greek Myths theme’. It’s why I still get excited by each new request.