You have the systems and team sorted to create quality footwear, was the process much different moving to bags? Did you find the addition easy?
We selfishly design what we want to wear each season in shoes...this was no different in designing the bags, just beautiful pieces we would like to own!
With your current handbag collection you've created every day classic pieces, do you plan on following a similar path with your accessories as you have with shoes, having a more classic line and also a lower priced more playful line?
At this stage handbags have always sat with the Kathryn Wilson collection. For our Miss Wilson line we’re offering belts that tie back with footwear, using the same leathers. It’s been fun to pepper in accessories that feel relevant to the footwear collections without straying too far from our key focus being the beautiful shoes.
Kathryn Wilson if you don't already know is the footwear Queen of New Zealand. She has an incredible smile and is so damn nice that you want to squish hug her... possibly the only Queen you could squish hug so you should really make the most of it when you see her. What I somehow managed to miss over my last few years clomping around in her shoes is that Kathryn also makes bags, her current collection that launched in May has some pretty good offerings too, so I'm happy I finally found out about them!
Always one to have a million questions I decided to chat to Kathryn and Julia her designer about their new collection.
You're now entering your second decade of business which is such a fantastic milestone, congrats! You obviously know a thing of two about making good shoes, what made you decide to branch out in to handbags?
KW: The bags are a fun and exciting new offering to share with our customers that ties back with the winter footwear collections beautifully. (see some new season shoes below). In the past the handbags we’ve designed have focussed on classic tote shapes only. The two new styles we’re releasing are more compact and can be worn as a clutch or cross-body. They are the perfect pairing with trainers for day wear and also with a beautiful pair of boots or heels for evening.
What makes a great handbag for you, who designs the handbags that make you swoon?
A great handbag for me, has to have the little eye catching details, whether it’s a chain handle or an interesting use of different leathers or textures, that little detail that makes it irresistible on the shelf. It also has to have easy access to what’s inside so hidden magnet closures are great. We love Deadly Ponies designs and Julia is a die-hard Gucci fan.
Thinking about the Kathryn Wilson creative process, how do you come up with your ideas? Do you sketch, or work from a compilation of reference material? Do you work as a team or prefer to design by yourself?
All of our design starts with pencil sketches. I’ve been working collaboratively with Julia on the bags as she is the more ‘bag obsessed’ of the two of us. If we are both in love with the design then we know we’re onto a good thing.
Now that you have over 100 stockists and a large company are there any things you miss about your early days designing?
We still operate with a small passionate team and are each involved in many aspects of the business. Designing the collections is always the highlight of the season as its the fun part compared to the operational and logistical process. We still design with the same brand values and philosophy as we always have - limited edition shoes and accessories that are playful and empowering for the wearer.
What bag is your favourite from the range?
I’m already wearing the nude Angelique bag…I love it!
How often will you be releasing new bag ranges?
We’d love to release something to sit alongside the footwear each season.
Now that you've branched in to bags are there any other accessories you'd like to create?
We’ve always loved the idea of luggage…
I always like to include something for my readers who are just starting out in the creative industry, is there anything you wish you'd been told about running your own brand when you first started out?
Remember to laugh along the way at all your learnings and surround yourself with clever people that are passionate about life and your business idea.
My favourite is most definitely the little burgundy Margaux Cross Body, what one do you love?