Kelly of Kelly Wynne

kellywynne

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Her Business

Kelly Wynne Handbags

Hometown & Current City

Austin, TX

Degree

Studio Art (Graphic Design focused), Mass Media Communications

What was your first job after college?

I worked for a boutique public relations firm in Dallas for 3 years before starting my own business. It was a great experience and has helped me tremendously in knowing the best ways to market KW handbags!

What made you decide to start your own business?

You know those dreams people have growing up that seem really unobtainable, and are most likely just a dream? This was mine. I love all accessories because it’s the best way to jazz up an outfit! I began researching, sketching, and meeting with various professionals in the fashion industry. One thing led to another, and my dream of designing handbags became reality. I finally decided to go for it! 

What were the first steps in starting your own business?

After 3 years in PR, I couldn’t stop thinking about designing a handbag collection, but I had no idea where to begin! During my lunch break, I would go to fabric stores and explore. I took a few sewing classes, bought a sewing machine, went to leather shops, and basically asked a million questions. I developed a business plan, and I talked to as many designers in the industry as possible trying to learn about how they began. I met with our lawyer and formed an LLC and patented the Kelly Wynne name and logo. That was in June of 2012. I just NOW received confirmation that my name and logo are officially mine! It’s a crazy long process!

It took me a year to find all the right suppliers and manufacturer to produce my handbags. All of my meetings were very helpful, but it is difficult to obtain information, as this industry is so competitive. However, I met some great people along the way!

What did you learn in your first job that’s helped in starting your own company?

I learned a lot about what it takes to promote a business and how to communicate with the media. A lot of people think we have a PR company helping us with our email designs, social media, etc but that’s just our KW team doing everything!

Graphic design has always been one of my passions. Because I worked for a small company before, I was able to develop my skills as a designer. They didn’t have a full time graphic artist, so I took on that roll. I helped rebrand the company. It was a really fun experience!

If there was one thing you’d wished you’d known before starting, what would that be?

The first thing that comes to mind is simply not letting every little thing get to you. It will all come together! No one told me how difficult it would be to start my own business and especially this business. The whole first year, there were numerous disappointments and frustrations. I took everything to heart. Each disappointment weighed me down, but I kept going! Now if something goes wrong, I stop, take a minute to think about it, and say to myself, okay, we’ll figure this out! When you start your own business, it’s like having a baby!!

What was the toughest part about starting your own business?

Not knowing where to start!

kelly white, creative entrepreneur, handbag line, kelly wynne, blair culwell

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve encountered so far?

There have been so many challenges, but one of the biggest I’ve encountered is not letting other people’s opinions influence my designs. Of course it’s great to receive feedback, but I have so many people telling me to “do this, do that, don’t do this”, etc! If I listen to all the “voices” my designs would be a jumbled mess! It’s very challenging to stay focused!

Who or what do you look to for support?

I depend on the Lord to guide me through every decision that has ever been made for Kelly Wynne Handbags. He gives me strength to make it through difficult times and to be joyful at all times! My parents and fiancé have also been incredibly supportive and have believed in me from the very beginning. During several crunch times this past year, they have dropped everything when I’ve needed “all hands on deck”.  Oh, the stories we could tell!

What’s your favorite part about owning your own company?

This is a really hard question for me! I love many parts of my business. Most people would think the best party of owning your own company is setting your own hours, taking time off when you need or want! But that’s actually one of the hardest parts about owning your own business. You don’t have anyone telling you what you need to accomplish each week, so you have to set goals for yourself! It’s a 24/7 job! It’s hard for me to turn it off at night because there is always something to do.

With that being said one of my favorite things about my business is seeing my designs come to life! It’s crazy to think where I was a year ago. I was stressed out of my mind trying to produce my first line of handbags! It’s been an amazing journey so far!

What does the future hold for Kelly Wynne handbags?

We’re launching with a new collection mid-March called “Gold Rush”! We’re so excited! There will be lots of fabulous neutrals with camels, whites, watermelon, cobalt and black. We are experimenting with a new material – gold flaked embossed cork and adding a baby croc print! Can’t wait to show you!

I’m also designing an evening bag line launching this summer! I’ve been inspired by my wedding coming up July 5. I can’t share too many details, but there will be lots of fabulous photos posted via @shopkellywynne instagram of the new line the weekend I say “I Do”.

kelly white, creative entrepreneur, handbag line, kelly wynne, blair culwell

Do you design your own bags?

Yes, I design all of the different styles and leather combinations. I sketch each style, and make paper handbags to figure out the perfect size! I meet with my leather suppliers and design the patterns and color combinations. It’s so much fun! It’s sometimes hard to stay focused because there are endless options for colors & texture!

What’s your favorite bag in your collection? Which one do you carry the most?

My favorite bag in my current collection is the “I Duffle Dare You” in Emerald Serpentine/Lizard. I have carried it every day for the last few months! It can be worn 3 different ways (crossbody, over your arm or over your shoulder). It also comes in Black Serpentine/Lizard …so rich looking and feeling!

We just launched with a new style called “Flirty Little Foldover” in gold platinum serpentine. It’s fabulous! I can’t wait to wear it!

Any best sellers?

Anything in GOLD! Our motto is “Dare to be fabulous” and we strive to help our customers feel that way! …and well… gold does just that!

My Mingle Mingle Mini is my best selling style, but my Cloud 9 Clutch is a close second. However, we are launching with 3 new styles for our Gold Rush collection that I think will rival the Mingle Mingle Mini!

kelly white, creative entrepreneur, handbag line, kelly wynne, blair culwell

You recently got engaged, is it tough balancing a business and wedding planning?

YES!!! It’s so very difficult! I could fill my days with emails and meetings. BUT it’s important to keep a healthy balance and delegate work amongst our team, so we can accomplish everything we need each week – and I can do a few wedding things here and there!

Tell me a little about your manufacturing process. Where are the bags made?

The Kelly Wynne handbags are handcrafted by artisans in New York City! It has been the most amazing experience working with a manufacturer and suppliers in the US. I love knowing exactly who I am dealing with and being able to put a face to a name. My favorite part about this whole process has been meeting so many different people. Of course, I face daily challenges and am always problem solving, but I am satisfied with my ultimate decision to have the bags produced in the US.

By having the bags handmade in the US, I have a better handle on quality control. I am overseeing everything each day – whether it’s traveling to NYC, Skyping or making calls to all the suppliers to check on things, I’m always there! There is a different supplier for every piece of each bag. From the lining to the zippers, each bag involves coordinating with different people to make sure the manufacturer receives everything needed to produce our bags. If one supplier is late, everything is late. So you can imagine how difficult it is to keep everyone on schedule! I’m very fortunate to be working with a manufacturer who has a lot of experience working with well-established designers and has been able to guide me through this process. I definitely have a great team working to make these bags beautiful for all the fabulous women that want to carry a Kelly Wynne. 

Where can someone buy your bags?

You can order a KW bag from our website www.kellywynne.com. We will package and ship it straight to you!
The bags are also carried in 23 stores nationwide. Check the website to see if there is a store near you!

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