How I created Workingurl Co.
When I first started my company, it was actually kind of for selfish reasons. I was trying to solve a problem that I was having as a busy, working woman who's always had to commute everywhere. I was really just tired of having to carry SO many bags with me to work. Then I couldn't find any bags online that were fabulous and functional, and reasonably priced. So I decided to create my own line of bags that would suit my needs.
Now obviously, you can't build a business by trying to simply solve your own issue, you need to make sure it's also addressing a problem for a wider audience. That's when I started doing research, building a mailing list, and sending out surveys to busy, working women. I wanted to get a better understanding of their needs, the accessories they use, and how those accessories support their lifestyle. After I received all this invaluable feedback from my target group of boss ladies, my "selfish" idea began to evolve into a much bigger thing.
In my first year of bringing this business to life, I was charging away. I was super motivated and passionate, and trying to learn as much as I could about how to start a handbag company from scratch. This was something very foreign and completely new to me. So when I was selected as a finalist for a local accelerator program called Entrepreneurship For All (EForAll), I was super excited to for the guidance and opportunity. I used the tools I learned from the program to really go for it, and I launched a Kickstarter campaign shortly after the accelerator program ended. I was beyond ecstatic when I reached my campaign goal...which I didn't think would happen as easily as it did, and raised enough funds to make my first small batch of bags. Things were really happening. Then BAM! I found out I was pregnant.
So many things were running through my head at this point. I certainly didn't feel I was ready personally, or professionally to have a child. I always thought I'd be financially stable before having a family...but I guess there were other plans written in the stars for me and I'm not going to lie, pregnancy was tough. I mean hard! I was sick all the time, and as I got closer to my due date I also got sciatica and could barely walk. I have to admit, I lost motivation to continue working on my business. I needed to find one part that I could focus on and move forward with, while dealing with this phase in my life. That's when I decided to put all of my attention on the production of my bags. I new that ensuring that the bags were the best they could be during my first production run, was crucial. I also knew, it was the easiest part of my business to focus on during this stressful time.
My beautiful son came into this world the following Spring, and we were ecstatic. However, we also learned that he was born with a congenital heart defect which required open heart surgery that summer. The exact same week my bags were being delivered to me! Needless to say, I was a crazy, nervous mess. Luckily, I have a wonderful family that supports me, and I realized how true it is when they say it takes a village.
My son came home and recovered from his surgery, and while trying to figure out this whole mom thing, I began fulfilling my first orders. I can't describe how great it feels to take something that was literally an idea, pull it out of your head and work on it to make it a real thing and after that, be able to deliver it to other people who like what you've created. This was truly a momentous occasion for me. However, I've learned in business you have to have a next step, a plan to move forward. I had so much more work to do.
So Where Are We Going?
Fulfilling the first Workingurl orders was a great way to prove that what I created can actually sell, AND it feels really great that they've kept on selling since. This was a great first phase. The next would be creating a sustainable plan for growth, and building the Workingurl brand. I also was trying to figure out what kind of my mom I want to be, and how to juggle motherhood with running a business. The very special thing that being a mom has contributed to this new step in the Workingurl journey, is the newfound appreciation and respect I have for not only working women, but also working mothers.
It's here that I started to really think about what drives my brand. What I came up with was that I can offer women support by thoughtfully designing our important daily essentials, from our handbags to what's inside our bags. We've got so much going on as we move from task to task, our accessories are the things that help us to make these moves. So it's through innovative design and quality production, that I can best empower them to accomplish their goals.
Now, just as my son is moving from a baby to a toddler, so is Workingurl. I'm building on my mission by producing our new accessory called the Lifesaver Kit, which is a pre-packaged "daily essentials" bag. It keeps you ready for any mishap in your day. We're also working to manufacture and produce our next two bags from our signature collection, the super awesome backpack and our very popular tote bag. The goal is get them both produced in two colorways (one for Spring/Summer and the other for Fall/Winter) by the end of this year, and be ready for sale online by early next year. We're also working on finding a local manufacturer to produce these two colorways.
Ultimately, the goal for Workingurl is the same as my goal for being a good mom. I want to to ensure healthy development and provide the very best support possible. I'm dedicated to using customer feedback in the development of my products and brand. I'm also dedicated to empowering women and supporting them through innovative design. These are the things that will stay constant as I evolve and grow Workingurl. Taking what was once a selfish idea, and addressing a larger problem for busy women everywhere.