Niche Bags

by - Sunday, April 20, 2014

I'm just going to go straight in by saying if you haven't heard of Niche Bags yet you really are missing out. Claire (the Owner and Designer behind Niche Bags) has created a wonderful collection that will never date. The collection is chic and stylish giving you that eye catching statement bag at an affordable price. 

'Amelia' bag in Navy - £115* Link

I absolutely love this bag! The bag is a soft leather and can be worn in two different styles, as a tote bag and with the longer strap. I must admit I didn't expect the bag to be as beautiful as it was, I mean I loved them before I receive it but when it came I fell in love. I have used this bag a couple of times since receiving it and I have been approached by so many people to compliment me already. 

The bags come in 4 colours at the minute - the timeless classic Black, Navy, Red and Gold. They are all beautiful and can be worn for either day or night wear. 

I also managed to catch up with Claire to find out a little about herself and Niche Bags and how this upcoming Fashion Brand was created. 

Tell me a little about yourself Claire.
I am 36 years old and from Leicester. I went to school in Leicester and I have always loved art/drawing etc.. My Granddad was Polish (and so had a Polish maiden name ‘Nycz’) and I have 3 sisters (myself being the 2nd eldest). I worked in the travel industry for a while (part of the Internet team) but ultimately worked for a packaging company called ‘Keenpac’. This is where I learnt about making handbags. I started work in their ‘accessories’ division, where we made fabric handbags for the likes of Kookai and warehouse. I loved that job and eventually got promoted (which meant I moved on to luxury paper packaging for high end stores). I have been married 2 years (together 11 this year and I have 2 step daughters, Holly & Amelia.

What inspired you to create Niche Bags?
There are many reasons why…I have always had a passion for bags and shoes (typical female!) and after leaving work I always dreamt of creating my own line. I knew how to do it and we have kept in touch with some contacts/factories from my days at Keenpac. 

So last year a close friend of mine got married. I needed a bag for a hen night and was prepared to spend a fair amount of money on a bag but I couldn't find anything at all. I realised that the ‘evening’ bag I wanted didn't exist unless I spent hundreds of pounds on a designer bag. When I was shopping, all I could find were tiny little sparkly bags to cheap looking clutches! The only ones that I would have wanted to buy were designer and then the prices went into £800 onwards, which I didn't want to spend. I wanted a ‘designer’ fashionable handbag that I was comfortable taking out without spending a fortune.

So I started designing lots of bags at home. I draw them by hand and started having some samples made, really just as a hobby in my spare time. I wasn't intending on doing anything with the bags at the time, but a hotel in Nottingham (Langar Hall Hotel) that we go to often, asked if I wanted to show them at one of their evening events and so I agreed. I got a small selection together and I only showed them as ‘samples’ as I had not placed an order yet with my factory. I wanted to see what people thought and to see if people would buy them. The response was fantastic and so I decided to do it seriously as a business.

What was the focus for your designs?
Mainly I want a UK ‘designer’ bag that doesn't cost £1000 (Like Chanel/ Dior for example). I also feel that there is a gap in the market for my age group/demographics. One of my favourite brands is REISS but they have a limited selection of handbags, apart from this brand I find there are no other brands that fill that gap. If you take the other brands for e.g Ted Baker, it’s too flowery and young for me. DKNY - Very ‘work’ orientated bags. So you start to see that there is a market for this, plus I am a keen follower of fashion too so I like to look at seasons and trends and also compare them to classics. Now that I have started though, I plan on creating an ‘evening line’ and also ‘work’ handbags, like the female equivalent of briefcases, but in beautiful bright leathers.

It's a great achievement to have a successful business. What would you like your next great achievement to be?
I would love Niche Bag's to be a global brand, something that I could pass down in generations. I would love to see Niche Bags in department stores, not just int eh UK but globally.

Do you have any other designs up your sleeve?
Yes, I am also working on pastel shades for the summer.

Who is your inspiration within the Fashion Industry?
I love the classics. For me Coco Chanel was really ahead of her time and a true artisan and has a unique style. In the bag world, for me - Anya Hindmarch is truly special. I also love Mulberry, Dior and Prada as fashion Houses. Recently though I love Victoria Beckham, Her style is again very classic
and finally Olivia Palermo, I think she always looks effortlessly chic.

If you could have anyone wear your designs, who would it be and why?
Hmm that’s difficult ! Probably the ones I have mentioned above….and Anna Wintour !!

What advice would you give to any young women wanting to start their own business?
Do what you love, love what you do…and perseverance is key. If you love what you do then it won’t be hard work, but keep going and never give up. The most successful people in the world will tell you how many times they have failed, before they got to where they are now…and so never give up on your dream and always listen to your gut instinct.

I love how passionate Claire is about her business, I think it is really important for people to love what they do and you can see that Claire really does. I was so fortunate to get sent this gorgeous bag and it really is such a statement piece, I can't wait to see Claire's other collections coming soon as I know they will be just as fabulous. 

Which bag is your favourite? 

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