Monday, 12 April 2010
Ethical heaven interviews Claire from BoBelle
1. What inspired you to produce ethical bags and accessories?
I have always been passionate about fair trade and ethical living. When studying for my Masters though it was my Business Ethics tutor who inspired me to focus my business plans around ethical values – I haven’t looked back since!
2. When did you begin trading and how has BoBelle progressed since then?
BoBelle was founded in October 2007 and it has changed dramatically! I wanted to test the market with eel skin leather as my Mum has an eel skin wallet, which is now 9 years old and still beautiful! We had lots of other brands under BoBelle’s gift boutique, but it was in 2008 when we changed the site and shop to solely focus on the accessories. Due to its popularity we now have our own designs and are wholesaling to over 35 stores in just the past 4 months. Being in Topshop and our Eco Shop certainly helped BoBelle’s growth, as did being voted Top 100 Entrepreneurs by Striding Out and being awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts!
3. Which pieces are you particularly proud of and why and what are your best sellers?
My favourite piece has to be the Hemera Handbag, closely followed by the Theia Clutch. Those two are my own unique designs and I adore them! The Aphrodite Wallet is another I am very proud of, but the handbag is the crowning glory! It is so soft, strong and luxurious! Our best sellers change from month to month! However, I can say that this month the favourite colour is purple and the biggest seller online has been the Hemera Handbag.
4. What is the most challenging aspect of working in the ethical industry?
I think the most challenging part of working in the ethical industry is educating people that ethical fashion can be fashionable! It has such a negative connotation attached to it that it is frumpy, expensive and not on-trend. However, I happen to disagree. I think there are wonderful designers out there that are proving ethical fashion to be durable, an investment, not over-priced and of exceptional quality. I hope that BoBelle reflects this daily.
5. Is there anything exciting happening in the near future with Bobelle?
BoBelle is growing on a daily basis, which is so exciting! We have new styles coming out for A/W 2010 which is great and we have a few larger deals up our sleeves as well which is all very exciting. It is important not to be rigid in business, so we take each day at a time and try to take advantage of all opportunities whenever they arise.
Bobelle – www.bobelle.co.uk