Owning a business, especially one I have started from nothing, is HARD, but I wouldn’t change it.
I started Sash & Belle in 2013 and launched my very own handbag label in February 2014. I had been told that it was going to be hard work, I believed those people but probably underestimated how hard it would be.
I needed and wanted a new career, I was ready for a big change but I didn’t quit my day job because I didn’t want to risk it all. I have a wonderful husband and 2 gorgeous children, they need food on the table and a roof over their heads.
On a weekly basis I am ready to chuck it all in but then I think about why I started Sash & Belle and what I wanted to achieve. I started Sash & Belle because being my own boss makes me happy and I love designing handbags that are functional and will help women in their everyday lives. I want to make women feel good about themselves, confident in their handbag and above all help them to be organised. We are so busy these days, running from work to other activities or to pick children up, to sports and back home again to get dinner ready (and everything else in between). I want to provide those women with their choice of bag that helps them be the person they want to be.
So, for 2 years, 10 months and 30 days I have been a tired mum, wife and business woman, but still I wouldn’t change it because Sash & Belle makes me happy. Working days in my other job and nights and weekends on Sash & Belle is hard going, I have been doing the best I can to raise the profile of Sash & Belle but unless you have a money tree in your backyard (I don’t unfortunately) to use for marketing it is darn hard work getting your brand out there.
Since 2014 Sash & Belle has gone through a few iterations as we grew and established ourselves in the marketplace. We started with offering very affordable handbags, but with that came problems with quality and I did not want Sash & Belle’s name to be associated with bad quality.
I travelled to China and met with many manufacturers to find the right manufacturer with the right product and that is what we launched in September this year – our new line of leather and vegan leather products. Some of you may have seen a price jump this collection but that is because we could not provide a quality bag at the prices we were before.
We use the same leather as other stores such as Oroton, Mimco, Guess but because they have the marketing budget it is very hard to compete. I promise you our quality and leather is very good.
I also started designing our bags this year and now have 10 in our range with more in the design/sample phase as we speak! (designing Sash & Belle bags was what I wanted to do from the beginning but had found out early that I needed to purchase a lot of my own designs and without customers it was going to be hard to sell them).
I don’t want this to sound like I am complaining, what I wanted to share is that starting and growing a business is hard work and I need support from the Australian community and in return we will give you the best customer service and product we have.
I decided to sell Sash & Belle bags online because that suited me and isn’t everyone doing it now? However, selling online can be difficult as how do you recreate picking up a bag instore and looking through it, we know some people want to touch the bag before they buy so we try to help our customers do this by providing images of the bag from all angles and a zoom tool to look closer at the bag. We also offer the ability to return the bag for a full refund or exchange.
Social media – grrrr don’t get me started, I have a love hate relationship with Facebook and Instagram. They want you to advertise your business on their but then they set up so many rules and algorithms that you spend so much time taking beautiful photos and developing content just to reach 100 people and get 5 likes on that post, why won’t it let me reach all my likers, oh yeah that’s right because it wants our money to boost posts!
Anyway, it has been cathartic to write this down, I am sure some of you who read this are going through the same thing as me, I wish you all well and I request that the next time you want to buy a handbag, tote, backpack or wallet you visit www.sash-belle.com.au