The love of craftsmanship has somehow always been a big part of my whole driving force. I've tried to create a collective together with the producers, a collective where we would each bring a part of us to the table and from there create something beautiful together. Now I know for sure that without these people and the connection we share today, it would simply not make sense to be doing what I'm doing without them.
But my search for this community really started 12 years ago, on a melting warm Sunday in September, when I arrived in Florence. I had passed through as a tourist a few decades before, without the slightest idea that this city and the areas surrounding it would later be so closely associated with my work life. But during that first business meeting with Florence, my mission was clear; I wanted everything I designed to be made in Italy, as I’d understood that the tradition and level of craftsmanship, especially within leather goods, was outstanding here.
First of all, I wanted to find a super loyal and reliable producer of luxury bags, someone who would share my vision of making accessible, timeless, high-quality bags and shoes. I had this idea that my products should only be made by people who would be super dedicated to their craft and work. Also, I wished they would treat my brand with at least the same amount of dedication and attention to all details as they would treat the much more established brands they were working for. So here I was with all my ambitions, an extremely tight budget, close to no experience within production, I didn't speak a word of Italian, I was a woman, and I was alone. Not exactly a piece of cake. But naive, for sure.
My trip to Florence turned out to be the beginning of an adventure that included a lot of confusion, laughs, hustling, and struggle, for many years. It also turned out to be the whole reason for continuously believing in this, even in those moments when the thought of giving up hit me. I have been close to being defeated, several times. The only reason I didn't just give up during the process was that there were always kind people along the way. People who were trying their best to share their network when other productions would go wrong. The process also included new and very special friendships and a much clearer vision for my brand.
Whenever I have given an interview, I have noticed the journalist’s eyes looking a bit confused and absent whenever they would ask me where my inspiration came from, and I would highlight the artisans. For the same reason, I find it so important to keep on insisting on talking about them, as they continue to be the core of my company. I don’t mind fashion at all, but it isn’t my passion. I don’t even design when I'm in Copenhagen. I mainly do administration there. Italy and the time spent with the producers here have always been the place where the creativity lives and flows. I feel so extremely humbled when I'm here, and I'm constantly reminded that there would be no product, no fashion industry, if it wasn’t for the real people making our products. I still wonder why they seem to be so invisible in this industry. I simply don't get it. If my budgets were bigger, I would spend most of my time creating content that would make you feel like you could always follow and witness the entire process of creating products by hand. I would love to physically take you here and show you how much everything comes down to the people who make it, how much of their spirit they invest.
But back to my naive adventure, I finally after close to 2 years of failed attempts, on a sunny afternoon, met Filippo! A little later his family too, and it was truly love at first sight. Over the years I’ve learned that even if Filippo is the one, who is responsible for our bags, there would be no bags without his wife, Kettj (pronounced Ketty). She is, in so many ways the person who owns the entire production. She oversees every single detail, and then when she is done with her work, she rushes home to cook for her family. And even me and what a cook she is by the way! I have seen her work through so many years, and the level of dedication is unmatched. And I do know a good amount of efficient and strong women, so that tells a lot about Kettj.
When we first started working together, I was honestly a little strained and slightly nervous that Filippo would just be another one in the line of failed collaborators. So, I decided to only test a single bag and I convinced Filippo to just do 25 pieces.The designe was already there, a super simple tote, big enough to hold a laptop, but so slim it almost resembled a briefcase.
The bag has been one of YOUR most favourite bags in our collection ever since. Although, I insist on doing simple classic shapes, that are designed to stay here for years, I do think it is fun to redesign and update the design every now and then. The changes can be subtle, but still the changes secure that it will always be the crossbody/tote/purse/whatever I myself would prefer. I believe, that if I feel this love for the products, you will feel it too. I have let bestsellers go to rest and some people have wondered why I would do this. But I’m a firm believer of integrity, and I do think that everything should be there for a good reason. If I don’t relate to the product anymore this is a good enough reason to let it go to make space for something else.
With regards to our Filippo bag, our classic tote, the shape as you know it is gone, and a deeper, boxier version just came. It’s interesting how much changing the proportions can change so much. I now feel it is a bit sportier and more relaxed, less business and in this way, I feel it now fit the current world.
I do hope you will like it as much as we already do. It actually just came to Copenhagen and is available both in our shop and webshop + it will soon be available in Shopbob too.
And ps we are already working on additional color range. Tell me your wishes please, we'd love to hear from you. Always!