Love Letter

LOVE LETTER. Clever name for a bag designed to fold over neatly, like an envelope. To carry your most important belongings. But it’s so much bigger than that.

The Love Letter collection is not only my passion project, but a design I’ve been working on for almost 10 years. It is symbolic of many things, not the least of which is me finally making the decision a year ago to write my own story.

I kicked off this project back in January and have gone through 4 revisions of the bag. There was no rushing or cutting corners; I carried it for 3 months, critiqued it, revised it with my production team, then carried it again for 3 months and repeated the process. A “start small” business plan has allowed me to tinker and refine, with an open canvas for my obsessive eye for detail. 

Some features that didn’t make the website:

1.       Purse feet: This bag is designed to be flexible and fluid, so this feature makes it secure on its feet, even when it’s just resting.

 Purse feet to match the zipper tone and hardware

Purse feet to match the zipper tone and hardware

 

2.       Durability: Love Letter took its first vacation to Belize back in May. It was checked with my luggage because it was an extended trip and I needed more than a travel sized portion of lotion. I had several girlfriends over for the big unveiling as they had not seen anything but photos to this point. A whiff of coconut greeted me when I opened my suitcase...my precious prototype was drenched in lotion. True to form, we all sprung into emergency care mode, only to find that it wiped right off with no staining. The beauty of a high quality, vegan suede/leather is that you get a rich fabric without the fuss of having it marked by every little oopsie.

3.       Space: This isn’t your average crossbody. This project was born because I could never find this style bag in a size large enough to accommodate all of my junk. So, I made one. This purse will not only carry your wallet, but a bottle of champagne if you need it to. Bringing a whole new meaning to “brown bagging”.

4.       Fair Treatment: My commitment in this endeavor is to work with partners who not only pay their people fairly, but also create a work environment that is good for the community. Love Letter is not only a reflection of a true love for practical style, but also love for the folks who are bringing it to life. 

Now that the product is ready for prime time and the online store is live, we will begin to layer in social media outlets and expand our campaign…be on the lookout for updates soon.

This launch has been exhilarating and has given me a new-found respect for small business owners. Until next time…support your local businesses! And of course, hit the “shop now” link to check out my collection. 

Fashion District: 101

In early Fall I was invited to participate in Airbnb’s City Hosts beta test. The concept is quite simple. You choose from a variety of City Hosts (experts in the city you’re visiting - chefs, musicians, artists, etc) to show you around their local scene. As fate would have it, one of my options was “the style genius” in LA, which focused on exploring the fashion district.

 Shot from Michael Levine, DTLA Fabric District

Shot from Michael Levine, DTLA Fabric District

This was my first visit to LA's Fashion District, but I had visited NY's Garment District several times and was thoroughly overwhelmed. I’m not afraid to dive in and figure it out, but I knew there had to be a better way. Then, along comes Janine, my City Host.

 Janine modeling one of my Spring 2017 fabrics.

Janine modeling one of my Spring 2017 fabrics.

Snapdragon’s brand commitment is fashion without tradeoff. In addition to fair treatment (of workers), wages and prices, I am also committed to sourcing vegan products that guarantee no harm to animals in production. Finding high quality materials that meet each of these requirements hasn’t been easy. Then along comes Janine.

Janine led me to the most beautiful vegan leather that is so soft and exquisite you would never believe its faux. See the fabrics I found below:

 Beautiful pastel faux leather.

Beautiful pastel faux leather.

My quest for a soft, pastel outer fabric was complete. Now I needed to incorporate balance with an edgy, inner lining. We scored a grayscale camo with hints of pink that pairs like a dream with the leather choices. Now we get to turn this thing into a bag…here’s how it works.

I sketch the design format with dimensions and hardware preferences. I provide the sketch to my pattern and sample partner who transforms my sketch into a pattern, then into a tangible sample using the fabrics sourced in LA. From there we evaluate every aspect, texture, zipper pull and I personally wear the sample for several weeks to test its functionality. Then it’s off to the manufacturer to be produced.

 Sneak peak of sample, coming in February for Valentine’s Day.

Sneak peak of sample, coming in February for Valentine’s Day.

My personal pre-production testing gives me a strong level of confidence around the quality of my designs. Not to mention the satisfaction when someone says “I love your bag”. It's endlessly fulfilling to have someone love a piece that you loved designing, and this applies to any trade. 

If you are considering picking up a new trade it is critical to immerse yourself, and I highly recommend considering Airbnb City Hosts to do so. Not only was it so much fun to explore with a small group of guests sharing similar interests, but it was the push forward I needed in launching my brand! The City Hosts service should be launching soon, so keep an eye out!