If you are following my blog, you might have already read my popular post "10 Tips to Become a Successful Handbag Designer Label." I know that particular article helped many aspiring handbag designers, especially new start-ups, who don't know where and how to start. For me, more important than following those 10 steps is the ability to transform your talent into adorable iconic products. This is when the real challenge begins.

If you place your pencil and paper on your desk and wait for inspiration to come, most of the time you'll end up frustrated and unable to create what you really want. Instead, if you begin with and pursue the following helpful steps, you will experience more success and have peace of mind in the process:

1.Trend research is absolutely essential. Before I concentrate on the creative process, I do my homework and spend quite a lot of time on the research. The invaluable resources such as trend shows, trend magazines, seminars or trend reports will bring much more meaningful and desired results into your handbag collection. You will become more aware of what you do and why you do it.

I particularly believe colour plays a big role in all our every day choices. So does the statement colours of handbags. Colour is more than just a hue. It expresses a feeling and reveals your personality. It is invaluable to use the proper colour for the right season, and the right reason.

My favourite trend resources you can utilise;

Trade Shows and Forecasting Seminars: Lineapelle in Bologna Italy, Première Vision Leather & Première Vision Accessories in Paris France, Pantone Events, Trend Selection by Lineapelle London and New York.

Websites: Vogue.co.uk, WGSN.com, Pantone.com, Blog.pantone.com, Pantoneview.com, Trendcouncil.com, Style.com, TheUltraBright.com, Trendstop.com, Trendland.com, Modeinfo.com, Fashionsnoops.com.

Magazines and Books: PANTONEVIEW Colour Planner, Collezioni Accessori Magazine, Close-Up Bag & Accessories, Vogue Accessory Italian Magazine in iTunes, Magma Books, Colour Forecasting for Fashion.

       Trend Selection by Lineapelle New York


2. The concept board is the theme of the collection. We gather all of the output based on the trend research we completed, and piece materials together under a title together with the appropriate season.

This is our inspiration board where we pin photos, tear-sheets, colours -I prefer noting colours with their Pantone numbers- and the materials such as leather, feather, Swarovski crystals, lining, metal components, as well as anything else you may use for the collection. This board will be your absolute go-to for guidance and it alone will end up telling the story of your collection.



3. Sketches and technical drawings is the next step, certainly be the foundation of your new creation. During this process I normally pencil sketch on my sketchbook. I try and try and try many times to find the exact shape and look until I am satisfied. I usually carry my sketchbook in my handbag, so if at anytime I see something that inspires me, I jot it down, sketch quickly, and then when I am back at the office I work on the details. If I don’t do it right then and there, the idea unfortunately fades away, and the opportunity lost. We don’t want that, do we?

I use “Adobe Illustrator” to trace down my sketches. On my technical drawings I rigorously define the measurement of the details of my handbags. Your detail drawing must be elaborate and exact. You never want to allow for any opportunity of misunderstanding with the manufacturer you’re collaborating with. Otherwise, it will surely cost more time and money to complete the handbag. Therefore, be sure that your design sheet covers the technical drawings, exact measurements, stitching details, clear introduction of materials, metal ornaments, and other relevant and specific details to be used.

4. Prototypes are the first models of the bag in which the modelers have developed the idea of the creative team moving from paper to a three-dimensional reality. They can be made with synthetic leather, bonded leather material called “salpa” or even with the actual leather itself. I also suggest you pick similar but a lot less expensive metal ornaments than the real ones you’ll end up using for your samples. This and similar steps make your prototypes cost-effective.

When the first prototypes are completed, it is your opportunity to see the actual final look of the bag. Now is the time to make your changes before you move to the sampling stage, where it would be even more difficult to go back and revise the styles. I strongly suggest you take detailed notes and deliver your revisions to the manufacturer in the form of written documents. This also prevents you and them from making mistakes and resolve any misunderstandings. Try to have everything in written format.

5. Sampling, the last and final process in your design and development phase. In order to reach this step without any major mishaps, you should very much pay attention to the previous four steps. I have come across many designers who weren’t able to get to this stage without overcompensating, because they simply underestimated the importance of these steps and failed as a result.

After the reviews of the handbag prototypes and adjustments, the manufacturer will craft samples with the actual leather and materials you plan to use for the entire collection. If we achieve the best possible outcome for our collection, we will surely bring more success and sales opportunities to business. I can honestly say, if we believe in the products we create, we will have accomplished most of our goal. And then success will surely follow. That is why you should give all the extra and special attention you can to the products that will have your name embossed on them.

That’s it. Pat yourself on the back. You are now ready for the new photo-shoot and update your website and share your new babies with the world. Good luck!