Please explain, the start-up of your brand. How did it begin?
When I was pregnant, I was frustrated that I had to choose between function and fashion when it came to bags. Being a new mum is challenging enough and I was struggling to maintain my identity. This combined with over 26 years’ experience as an accessories buyer and designer inspired me to find a solution. After speaking to other new mum’s, I realised that I was onto something and this was my calling, to create beautiful, practical bags that busy stylish women would enjoy carrying each day, helping to keep them effortlessly organised and looking good too. KeriKit is a collection of beautiful and practical handbags and accessories to help busy mum’s stay effortlessly organised and confidently stylish when they need it most, generally running from one place to another with a kid or two in tow or switching from being a mum to a businesswoman depending on the time of day!
How has the business grown to be where it is now? What has contributed to your success?
My business model has changed over the years and whereas initially I wanted to be stocked worldwide in every discernible store, I soon realised that this would take a lot of work for very little return. As we grew each year I started toying with the idea of being an online only brand so I could make the most beautiful products in the world but at an attainable price. This route means there is no middle man / other partner involved taking their cut. So now I sell solely at www.kerikit.com This allows be to be more flexible with my brand, keep it limited edition and naturally make the most beautifully bags I possible can. I have an incredibly loyal (and engaged) customer base who I consult with on new designs and materials. It is like having a local shop where you can ask your customers what they think – except that they live all over the world! I think it’s really important to listen to your customers and with our private Kitgirl group on Facebook I am able to do just that. They come up with some great ideas for my brand which is why some of my designs are named after them such as Gretchen, Sullivan, Lily and Vicki to name a few.
3)What inspires you and your design choices?
I always ask myself the same questions when I am considering a new design for my collection. Is it beautiful and have I used the most perfect premium leathers fit for the purpose of product? Is it practical and will it make your life easier? Will it keep all your essentials organised and save you precious time? And finally does it make you feel better, more confident and empowered? Providing all of these criteria are met I know the product is the right fit for my customers who are yearning for beautiful, practical, well-made products ready to adapt to every version of them.
4) Who is your customer?
Women just like me! Basically any busy woman who wants to keep organised and remain stylish at the same time. My Kitbags are perfect for new parents, cute for the daily commute and perfect for the seasoned traveller too – My sole aim is to bring order to chaos by creating beautiful products which incorporate thoughtful design details from my own experiences as a mum of three, so you can go about your day with a little less stress and feel more in control too. A bag isn’t just an accessory to me it’s something that needs to fit in with who you are and where you are going and help you along the way.
How has the advent of social media impacted on you, I can see from your online presence you seem to embrace this?
For me social media is both good and evil in equal measure! There is no doubt that Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook are great at helping to grow brand awareness and spread the versatility of the products that I design. If KeriKit was in department stores, we would be restricted to one department and potential customers wouldn’t understand our versatility but with social media it is great that you can showcase all your brand stands for along with parts of yourself too. It is a fantastic way to connect with your audience. However many of us are now aware of the addictive side of social media and the damage it can do to us psychologically. I try to make sure I am not lured down the rabbit hole with endless scrolling but instead ensure I am building authentic relationships with my customers.
What type of products are your best sellers to your customers ?,
We tend to find Backpacks do really well for us as mums need to be hands free to juggle everything else! We have a lot of customers who love the Lennox as it looks like a normal shoulder bag but converts into a backpack – genius I know! Sometimes it’s hard to go to a backpack for the first time so this is the perfect solution for those who want their bag to look like a normal handbag on the outside. However as children grow up the need for a pram becomes obsolete, however the need for an organised bag never ends. With our integrated laptop sleeves in all our larger bags and perfect pockets for ipads and tables in the midi’s they really are the most versatile / stylish bags in the world. Our customer love our Kit too. These are the gorgeous little designs we create to make your bags even more unique to you with leather tassels that can be personalised to stylish straps that can switch up your style in a flash.
How do you stay relevant and current and where do you get your inspirations from?
I am inspired by other busy mums rushing about doing it all and also from my own experiences. As my children have grown my range has developed too which is why now, you can get midi size bags and grab and go mini bags too. I find I don’t need a big bag every day and now the kids are in school I needed a quick school run bag rather than a big backpack during the week. My customers are just like me and it turns out they wanted the same – all the same organisation they had come to know and love with my brand but just on a smaller scale. I’m never stuck for design ideas in fact I have to restrict myself which is why I get very excited every season as it’s an opportunity to do something new and exciting. Whether that’s new leathers, new colours, or a brand new design. I am always listening to my KitGirls and looking for innovative ways to make their lives easier and more stylish everyday.
Which styles are you really excited about for A/W 2021 are there any future plans you can share with us?
Yes I am super excited for autumn winter. We have introduced gunmetal hardware throughout a lot of the collection which gives the collection a sultry, moody and fresh feel. We have some amazing leathers that we have developed especially for KeriKit with our leather Atelier. One product I’m really excited about is our Vicki notebook / Journal cover as I have recently started bullet journaling and I have found the results to be amazing. I no longer have endless lists strewn all around my desk on bits of paper, but instead I have everything in one place, organised and ready to go. However, rather than just using a plain notepad our journal covers add that little bit of luxury and they have some amazing features added too. We have only made limited numbers of these and these are going to be an amazing gift for Christmas as they will retail under £100 – my only concern is if we still have them in stock by then!
Why is your site and its ethos and product selection so different to other businesses within your industry? Explain to myself what a KeriKit customer gets?
I feel Kerikit is unique proposition in the marketplace as we fuse fashion with function and offer our customers Practical yet beautiful products that they can use throughout their busy lives. We are not one dimensional so why should our bags be? With all the features included in each of my designs you really can use your KeriKit for every version of you just like thousands of kit girls around the world are doing right now. I’m proud that we support local UK charities such as the Honey Pot Children’s Charity and our tree planting initiative helps us to reduce our carbon footprint as a business whilst providing trees for the future too.