Never Give Up On Your Dreams

11th May 2020

Becoming A Handbag Designer


I’m Louise,creator of Louise Meddar london my range of luxury leather accessories that I started back in 2013 shortly after my mum passed away. This was one of those lightbulb moments for me and I wanted to do something to pay homage but also to celebrate her as she was and still is a massive part of my life. Mum came from Jamaica to the UK in the late 50’s and along with her came her style.

She always taught me the importance of caring for items you have and always choosing the best quality by looking after them as an investment piece that will stand the test of time. We had our “house clothes” and our “good clothes”- these were the ones only worn on special occasions like church or visiting friends. One central memory I have of her is her love and panache for elegant leather shoes and bags.

I’d always been a low-key lover of fashion,something I figure came from mum and dabbled with the idea of pursuing it as a career,something that she gently encouraged me to do whilst she was here. It wasn’t until her passing that the fire was ignited in me and I started messing around drawing (I use the term loosely) pieces – these were inspired by mum’s style but ultimately from my desire to design something that I liked and wanted to carry.

Mum and I always loved bags but so many of the timeless luxury leather bags I saw were very much out of my price range so I decided to create my own. The initial process in finding someone to make my samples was really difficult at first but then luckily I found someone who lived near me who had the skill and experience to bring my vision to life. A friend told me they made bags really well in Vietnam and were less expensive than London so I did some research before I left. I decided to turn it into a working holiday trip- that way if the whole bag thing didn’t work I wouldn’t feel as though I wasted my time and it’s such a beautiful place anyway.

The holiday/research trip saw me visiting factories all over Vietnam but ultimately I realised that this route wasn’t going to work for many reasons so I returned London empty handed,disappointed and deflated. I’d had so much riding on that trip.

Reeling from the disappointment it wasn’t until a couple of months later that I re-found the confidence to keep going and started looking at factories closer to home and discovered a manufacturer in east London famous for manufacturing and textiles. I visited the factory on several occasions and months in, my designs were still yet to be produced with much wastage made from the expensive leather I’d provided. Again feelings of fatigue were felt but I always had my mother’s words of encouragement ringing in my head.

On one of my final trips to the factory by chance I met a fellow designer called Angelo and we got talking about my bags. He immediately got where I was going with my collection and he explained that he was a freelance designer and consultant and he helped start ups brands like mine,so we decided to work together. He got my vision and understood exactly what I wanted to achieve and how far I wanted to take it.

A year in and several factories and samples later we’d managed to put a collection together. Angelo and I worked hard together to find the right people here in London but found that the manufacturers here were too expensive or they just didn’t want to work with small brands because they couldn’t match the quantities needed. Angelo had a lot of contacts in Italy and Portugal so we decided to start there. After another few months we settled on one atelier in Portugal who was able to work to the exact specifications that I needed.

The feeling when receiving full samples of my first collection was indescribable. All the time,stress and fear settled for the moment when you can hold something you have created in your own hands and be proud of the result…. Little did I know that was only the beginnings of my journey with this brand.

My whole experience of being a leather designer and the journey I’m on is that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s so worth it. This has to come from a place of love because you can’t do it for any other reason. Whilst experiencing challenges with getting my brand out there and finding people it resonates with has been a lot more difficut that I imagined,I choose to stay positive and believe in myself and the process. You put the work in. You get the results.

I’m an optimist and believe anything and everything is possible no matter what life throws at you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *