In 2009 we moved back to Sweden (livingroom in our Stockholm apartment above). Over the next few years I worked on my list. From time to time I forgot about it, then something would come up and I would look at it and add to it again.
In the fall of 2011 we were ready to move back to New York. We sold our apartment and our furniture in Stockholm and took the big leap! Scared doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. But at the same time I had a feeling that if we don’t do this now, try to live our dream, it will never happen.
Once we got settled in New York I again started thinking about my business. I started researching fabric bags, fabrics, ribbons etc. I soon realised that in order to make this work I would have to make my own prints as I wanted the bags to match so people could use the bags together. Now how does one do that? I have no schooling in pattern design. Where do you even print fabrics? I knew nothing.
I made many many sample bags myself and tried different models. Lined, unlined. Ribbon at the top, ribbon lower. Silk ribbons (they fray), grosgrain ribbon (works).
Here is Celeste with an “experiment” bag. Pink and brown striped with dotted lining.
Margaux with a bag with sculls.
Bags photographed at our summer house in Sweden, where I get a lot of inspiration and do a lot of my work.
I began to understand that I would not be able to make the bags myself as I am not a seamstress and besides if it works out the quantities would be too large. I therefore started looking at factories.
I researched factories in the New York area as I would have liked to have dem “locally” made. It turned out that would be too expensive. See a big part of my idea is that people can actually afford the bags.
As I think the idea of “reuse” is so important I wanted to make the bags available to everyone. (In fact, if you keep the bags in your family and give them back an forth to each other, my bags are much cheaper in the long run than buying paper, tape and string.)
Eventually I understood that China would be the best option for me. The prices could be kept down and I could make my own prints on a small scale (all my prints are hand printed in eco-friendly colours).
I contacted about 20 factories in China and eventually had ten of them make samples. In July 2013 I got the first shipment of bags. I was so excited. Unfortunately a big part of the bags, about 40% could not be sold as they had something wrong with them. Some were dirty, some had mismatch prints, some had crocked stitching. Basically all things that can go wrong with a bag. This was really a big disappointment. But I had to focus on the 60% I could sell.
Here are some images of the bags in my first collection.
Picture by Jenny Brandt
Picture by Jenny Grimsgård
The whole family under our oak tree in Sweden.
Picture by Jenny Brandt