Amazing Small Businesses that Sell Bags for Summer

We spoke to three small business owners about their incredible bags.

As summer slowly rolls around (we wish the rain would just go away) the need for a cute new bag for trips to newly opened restaurants, cinemas and the like has heightened. We spoke to the owners of three small bag business on how their unique bags came to be, the importance of sustainability, challenges, dreams and most importantly, where to buy their creations!

Bubble Bags

Interview with founder and creator Lara Glynn.

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What do you sell at Bubble Bags?

I sell a whole range of different accessories but mostly bags! I make absolutely everything myself out of either off cuts, clothes that people kindly donate to me, my own clothes and bits and pieces that I pick up in charity shops or on eBay/Depop! It was really important to me that all my materials are sustainable and Eco-friendly. There’s also something quite uplifting about giving an old piece of clothing a new lease of life.

Do you think that small businesses, like your own, that prioritize sustainability are helping to push the fashion industry in the right direction in that area?

Yes definitely! I would love to think so and I reckon that sustainable small business (and just little handmade businesses in general) are definitely helping to nudge the fashion industry in the right direction! But to completely change the fast fashion industry, I think it’s important that people are educated on what big businesses do to our planet (and why us little businesses are much better for the environment) which more people are definitely starting to do!

Huda Beauty

Definitely! How did you come up with the idea to start Bubble Bags?

I’ve always enjoyed textiles and creating little pieces for people, so it really started out just me making bags and accessories as presents for my family and friends! Then one day, me and my mum had an epiphany. We kept seeing all these big fast fashion brands (like Shein and Urban Outfitters) selling these little bags and hats and we just thought ‘you know what we could do that whilst also offering people a far more personal and Eco friendly alternative to these big brands’! Sustainable fashion has always been something that I felt strongly about, so it was really important to me that Bubble Bags was environmentally friendly! It officially started as a small business last Christmas!

Whats the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is definitely trying to pluck up the motivation and determination to make when sales weren’t very good! It can be really disheartening when you put lots of effort into something your passionate about and you don’t get the response that you’d like back! But I find it’s always worth it – you always get back what you put in! And I find sewing very therapeutic anyway so it always puts me in a better mood.

What’s next for Bubble Bags and what would you like to happen for your business in the next few years?

I’d love to keep growing Bubble Bags and it would be my absolute dream to actually have my own little shop one day where people can come in and see the bags! One of the things I really missed whilst we were in lockdown was actually going to a shop and speaking to an actual human being. It made me realise that one day I’d really love to have that. Until then the goal is to just keep creating and encouraging people to shop small and sustainably!

Where can people shop Bubble Bags?

People can shop Bubble Bags either by direct messaging me on my Instagram (@bubblebagsx) and pay via PayPal, or through Depop which is @bubblebags.

Niamh-J

Interview with founder and creator Niamh Dobson

Image credit: Mordant Magazine

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When did you start Niamh-J and how did it happen?

My initial beaded bag (the Ophelia) was born out of my inability to source a fun piece which truly reflected my personality and was within my price range. After initially making one for myself and posting it on Instagram I was inundated with queries, so over lockdown (March/ April) I began making my collection!

The shoulder bag is a huge trend right now, did you find it difficult to put a spin on the trend or did it just come to you?

To be honest it just felt really natural! As the silhouette is relatively minimalist I felt by using it I could really experiment with colours and go wild!

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far with running a small business?

I think lockdown itself has been a bit of a struggle! Facing delays in supply deliveries has been a pain but honestly the whole experience has been so positive! From making the bags my Instagram has grown ten fold and from that my bags (and other creations) have been used in photo shoots and magazines. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with and meet some of the most amazing stylists and photographers in the business!

That’s incredible, especially to be able to pull it off during a pandemic is something to be extremely proud of. What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

Probably getting my work in Mordant Magazine because having my work recognised in such an incredible way genuinely meant the world!

What would you like to happen next for you and your business?

I would love to get some stockists on board with my brand so they could be sold in boutiques over summer! That would honestly be the dream!

What other products are you working on aside from bags?

Recently I’ve been working on body and head pieces which have been so much fun to make! As a Fashion Design student I love to experiment so I’m really pushing beads as far as they can go!

Beads are another big trend right now and it’s so cool to see you using them in a completely different way! where can people shop Niamh-J?

Through my Instagram @niamh.j.design ! Simply DM to buy anything you see, I’m also hoping to have a few stockists soon too!

Han Bags

Interview with founder and creator Hannah Davis.

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I love the name Han Bags, such a smart idea! How did Han Bags start?

In January/February I was doing a lot of running and exercising as a hobby after work, and then I injured my knee so I couldn’t do anything without me knee being sore. I really wanted something to do in the evenings after a days work, something that didn’t include exercise or just leaving the house basically! So, I started crocheting and I had this idea to make a bag, just for myself, I didn’t plan on actually selling them. The first bag I made was horrendous! It was so bad but then the second one actually turned out so good!

It all started quite randomly, I didn’t expect to be making them and selling them! People said they were keen to buy one and I was like ‘oh I may as well take advantage of this’ and just sell them!

That’s so interesting, its as if it was just meant to happen! Would you say your bags are a sustainable alternative to those made by fast fashion brands?

Yes 100%! I am very passionate about slow fashion and buying second hand, most of my clothes are either second hand, really old or from small independent brands. The yarn I use is made from recycled materials and really, any small business that is hand making a small quantity of items is going to be a better alternative to fast fashion brands in terms of sustainability.

Definitely, I love that you use yarn made from recycled materials! Whats the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

I think just trying to juggle this, my full time job and also having a life and socialising again now that we can haha. I think I put too much pressure on myself and tried to launch 4 colours on Saturday. I realised I wasn’t going to have 4 ready so decided to launch 2 on Saturday and 2 during this week. That’s kind of a blessing as well though, the fact that it is just me means I have control over what I want to do.

What has your biggest achievement been so far?

Because it’s been a short journey so far, my biggest achievement is probably just that people are buying my bags. It all started quite unexpectedly so the fact that people are buying something I’ve made is very cool to me. I’ve had such positive feedback from customers which is so lovely.

What would you like to happen with Han Bags in the future? Any goals?

I’d love to go out and see someone I don’t know wearing one of my bags! I think the goal is just to grow it and see where it ends up!

Where can people buy Han Bags?

They are available on my Etsy store: HanBagsUK and also on Depop: @_hanbags_.

We are so proud to be featuring these small, sustainable brands that are created and ran by incredible women and we can’t wait to see whats in store for them all in the future!

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Tags: bags, shoulder bags, small businesses, summer

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Lizzy Swinerd
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I love to learn and write about fashion to shine a light on important issues that are present in the industry, as well as writing about the fun stuff. Aside from writing, I am interested in fashion styling and analysis, watching films and playing animal crossing.
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