Hello everyone, my name is Gunjan. My wife, Himal, and I have started a vegan handbags company for 2 important reasons. 1) We want to provide high quality fashionable handbags to everyone who wants to keep their closets full with handbags but, cannot do so because of their high prices, and 2) We both are animal lovers, hence, we want to introduce the concept in the fashion world that handbags can be made elegant and classy without killing the animals.
Now, coming straight to this project, I am a pharmacist, working for a leading retail chain pharmacy, Walgreens, for almost 3 and half years. During my working period, I had encountered some instances where women had called the pharmacy and said that they have lost their medications but, called back to cancel their refill prescription by letting us know that they only lost their medicines in their fully loaded handbags. When I spoke about such incidents to Himal, she showed me her handbag and said the same thing that it's easily possible to lose their regular use items, as they would have to carry many things at once in their handbags. She enhanced the problem by stating that, even if an item is put into the bag in the morning, by the time we need it in a rush the same afternoon, it takes forever to find it. She gave her personal example where on her way to work, she tried to search for her car keys, but was not able to find it for a very long time and was waiting outside the car till she finally found it. Similarly, when she was at work, during her lunch time she wanted to make a phone call to someone and eat a mint, but could not find either of the 2 items immediately. She thought it was a waste of the precious short lunch time she got at work.
After learning about such incidents, I thought to myself, what if a woman needs to take her medicines in an emergency but is not able to find it in her messy handbag. Or what if a woman gets a call at her work from her child's school stating that the child needs to be taken to the hospital in an emergency, but wastes her couple precious minutes in search of her car keys. At that moment, we decided to bring this project.
The innovation we thought about to resolve the above problem was to design the pockets of the handbags with clearly written labels on it. Many companies are providing handbags with multiple pockets, in fact so many pockets that it leads a woman with more confusion as to where has she kept an item she uses everyday. No pockets has labels on it to keep a busy woman's life more organized.
Hence, at first, we came up with a list of important items that, according to us, a working woman carries on a daily basis. After much research, we think those daily items are as follows:
2) Safety Pins
3) Hair Items
5) Notebook & Pen
7) Cash/Credit cards
9) Tampon / sanitary pads
10) Breath Mints
12) Lipsticks/Lip gloss
13) Oil Absorbing Sheets
15) Small Pack of tissues
After coming up with the above main items, we came up with specific compartments or groups that they can fall under. The result was 6 main pockets for the bag which were as follows -
1) Important - for cash, IDs and credit cards
2) Health - to keep medicines and bandages
3) Electronics - to keep Phone, USB Drive and Headphones.
4) Refreshments - to keep energy bars, Snacks & mouth fresheners
5) Beauty - to keep makeup and cleansing tissues
6) Feminine - to keep personal hygiene products
During the designing stage, we measured the dimensions of all particular products listed above and made sure that all 6 pocket sizes are appropriate to carry the mentioned belongings. For example, we have made measurements from the smallest thing like lip-gloss and band-aids to big things like smart phones to I pads to keep them organized properly.
Since our target woman is a working woman, we also made sure that she could carry a 13" Inch laptop. Furthermore, a USB Charger provided in the electronic section would give a woman peace of mind that in case she runs out of battery for an important call, she has a portable charger to keep her phone is use.
Lastly, to provide with more organizational facilities, we have also designed a hook for a key chain and a separate pocket for sun glasses to keep it protected and free from scratches.
In a nutshell,
Clear advantages of this handbag are going to be -
- A woman would be able to organize her important "stuffs" in the appropriate pockets with labels on it.
- Clear written labels will give much easiness for a woman to grab stuff out without getting delayed.
- The spacious pockets for laptop & USB charger for phones will keep a working women worry-free about carrying a separate laptop bag.
Risks and challenges
After we completed the designing stage of the handbags, the two main challenges we were facing were as follows -
1) It was difficult to manufacture a sample at a reasonable price. The main reason behind it was the different pocket dimensions we wanted to integrate in our handbag. We gathered quotations from different sample manufacturing companies in New York, USA. However, the prices we were quoted were between $5,000-$10,000, which were very expensive for us. Finally, we found a solution by searching for companies through Alibaba.com, and found one that could make it at a reasonable price.
2) The second challenge was more for the manufacturer than for us - to attach correctly sized labels on the inside material of the bag. Initially, a lot of manufacturers refused to do that kind of work for us because they knew if they stitch directly onto the inside fabric, the finishing would not meet up to the standards we were looking for. To maintain the rich and neat look of the bag, we needed to find someone who could meet all of our requirements according to our standards. Our manufacturer, who had the courage to take up the job, had made several attempts to make it look perfect, and after several rejections from us we finally overcame that problem and a beautifully stitched designer handbag with labels onto the pockets came into existence.