When did you set up your business and why?
Six years ago, we discovered Brendan’s grandad Ted’s story over Sunday dinner family conversation.
Ted was a very successful saddler from Mountmellick, Co Laois. At the age of 42, he suffered a stroke that left him paralysed on the right-hand side of his body.
Due to his disability, he couldn’t make saddles anymore, so he taught himself how to make small leather goods (handbags, satchels, wallets) with his mouth and left hand to provide for his family of 11 for the rest of his life.
His story inspired us to create a tribute bag for Brendan’s mum, which brought us on a journey of creating a collection of products.
We fell in love with the whole creative process and we decided to bring the family tradition and business back to life.
We also want to share Ted’s incredible story that you can overcome anything in your life with some patience and dedication.
Can you explain your process?
All our products are designed in Mullingar and handcrafted in Italy.
Part of our mission is to lead and change in the way luxury handbags are produced.
Starting with sourcing our materials, working with ethical tanneries and factories, incorporating more circularity, implementing process innovations and designing our handbags for long life – committing to minimising waste in every step.
We believe in maximising efficiency in every step of our sourcing and production.
We produce in limited quantities and often launch styles on pre-order, so that we can react better to our customers’ demands and avoid carrying excess inventory, avoiding waste in the process.
We value every single person that helps make our creations, we believe in rewarding them and creating values that we can all align to and enjoy every single day.
What is your best seller?
Undoubtedly, it’s the crossbody door bag with a solid brass Georgian door feature. Since we launched it, the handbag became iconic in Ireland, very recognisable for its design.
We are seeing great traction abroad, as more Irish diaspora are looking for luxury products with Irish heritage that they can connect with, be proud of and enjoy wearing every day.
What is it about your business that brings you joy?
Our customers for sure and their wonderful feedback on our products.
The connections and stories they share with us, why did they buy, for whom and how much they love it using it on their life journey and what it means to them individually.
Every time we receive a message, it is validation for us that we are creating products that people love and that’s very special for us.
Our mission is to create luxury leather bags and accessories inspired by life and built to last for generations.
What are your hopes for 2022?
Our business is growing 50% year on year. We are closing our seed fund round in June, which will allow us to expand to new markets.
We are already in Singapore and the USA and we are looking forward to the future.
We are launching new products this year that we are very excited about and we hope our customers will love it the same as they love our current creations.
What advice would you give to another start-up business?
Believe in yourself, keep going and don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s very challenging, especially at the beginning, pre-revenue, but if you have an amazing product or service and initial customers love it, you have the business to scale.
I would also advise to have a co-founder, as it could be very lonely/isolated otherwise and having someone else aligned to the same goals is a game changer.
Launch as soon as you can, the data and feedback you will receive are invaluable to perfecting your product/service and improving all the time.
For further information, visit https://mynameisted.ie/.