To share with you our excitement for the new-to-the-Hive line of handbags by Kelly Wynne (and in preparation for our trunk show in late September), we got an exclusive interview with the designer!
What were you doing before you launched your handbag line? How did you get started in the industry?
I grew up in Austin, TX and graduated from Ole Miss in 2009 with a degree in graphic design. That’s really where my creative “design wheels” started turning. Mississippi is my home away from home. Most of my extended family resides in the Delta, and I grew up cheering on the Rebels at many football games each year.
After college, I moved back to Texas and worked in public relations for 3 years before pursuing my dream of designing handbags. I love all accessories because accessorizing is the best way to jazz up any outfit! I couldn’t let go of the idea of designing a collection. 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!
Being a graphic designer before this venture has definitely been helpful in creating the logo and any marketing materials we have needed. I wanted a subtle logo which I feel like I accomplished because I have many people asking me what the logo means. I spent many nights sketching and brainstorming ideas before decided on the “K” and the “W”. Once the logo was finalized, I was really excited about the next steps in designing these handbags.
There are many styles of everyday bags i.e. tote, crossbody, hobo, etc. What is your favorite style for everyday use? Which is your favorite from your collection?
My favorite style for everyday use is our “Paint the Town” Tote. I have never been a tote person, but ever since I started producing my own line, it has been my go-to bag! It has two pockets on the outside, which is perfect for you iPhone – no more digging! We also included pockets on the inside for your lip gloss, pens, subway card, etc. It is so functional, yet chic! My favorite color combination for fall is our Whiskey Black Serpentine. You don’t have to worry about wearing black or brown boots because this bag will go with both!
Tell us a bit about your production i.e. where are they produced, what type of materials do you use and where do they come from, etc.
I wanted to start a fresh and contemporary handbag line with a mid-range price point inspired by the stingray look. I love stingray, but it can be very pricey. I started developing unique printed leathers that mimic exotics in a luxe and eye-catching way. There are two printed styles from my first collection, the Lizard which is comprised of repeating dots and the Serpentine which is a splattered look, both on printed suede. The printed suede is a different, unique texture. It feels so soft and wonderful! We will be adding new prints in future collections. The possibilities are endless!
All of our bags are handcrafted in New York City. It has been the most amazing experience working with suppliers in the US. I love knowing exactly who I am dealing with on a day-to-day basis. I can’t imagine trying to accomplish my goals overseas. 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. I love being able to support jobs in the US, especially when so many designers have their bags manufactured overseas.
What and/or who has inspired your designs?
Like I mentioned in my previous answer, the stingray was my original inspiration when designing these unique leathers. Since then, I have tried to look for luxe patterns in nature & interiors that catch my eye. I am able to work from these natural patterns and develop my own putting the Kelly Wynne twist on a new design.
The person who inspires me is my mother. She is a go-getter and one of the most intelligent women I have ever met. There are also a few designers that inspire me by their story… Rebecca Minkoff, Tory Burch, Coco Chanel, & Kate Spade.
What is one piece of fashion advice you were given that you’d like to pass along?
The one piece of advice I have been given that’s really hit home is don’t be influenced by others’ design suggestions. Every friend, family, co-worker has an opinion about how to do things and how to “make it better.” It is important to follow your own design ideas and let your creativity flourish! Otherwise you’ll become too generic and set yourself up for failure.
**Our Kelly Wynne trunk show will take place Thursday, September 26 through Sunday, September 29.