I always head down to London Fashion Week with my SLR in a scraggy looking shoulder bag: partly because I want it to be inconspicuous, and partly because I don’t want to lug my ‘real’ camera bag around the shows. No more! A few weeks ago photographer and designer Kelly Moore sent me one of her stylish SLR camera handbags (above) to try out, and I can’t wait to hit A/W 2013 with it on my back.
Kelly Moore is a photographer who decided to create a bag range when she realised that there was a yawning great gap in the market. “We carry very expensive gear, we don’t want to say ‘Come steal me!’” she explains in this video interview. Photographers and bloggers in the USA have understandably gone crazy for the Kelly Moore range: from the capacious Libby bag to the more petite Posey there is something to please every kind of photographer, with even a style for men.
Here’s a video of Kelly Moore describing the design and functions of the Chapel bag that I shall be road-testing very soon. I absolutely love that she also explains how it can be used as a nappy changing bag as well: I plan to make full use of it’s multi function. You can view handy videos describing all of the camera handbags right here. I asked Kelly Moore a few questions:
I love your bag designs! What were you looking at as inspiration when you first started to design bags? I presume it was other designer handbags as well as the usual camera bags!
My original inspiration was the sheer fact that the product I wanted didn’t exist! As a photographer, I wanted to carry my gear with me, both on professional shoots as well as in my everyday life, and my only option was black and boring! From there, my inspiration came first from the function the bag had to serve, and then I designed a beautiful, stylish bag to fit that function. Of course, I look to my favorite handbag lines for inspiration, but it also comes from clothing, magazines, photography and nature. Inspiration is everywhere!
Your bags are made from very high quality man-made leather rather than real leather, what was the decision behind this?
I wanted our bags to be accessible to the everyday woman. As much as I love genuine leather, the price point would be double (or more) what our bags cost now, and I didn’t want to enter the marketplace being unattainable to the majority of people. Also, our manmade materials are low maintenance and water resistant. This is a definite plus when you are carrying around expensive gear!
This atmospheric video was shot by film maker Joshua Smith, using glass shards held over the lens to give a vintage feel.
My Chapel bag contains a removable cushioned interior – what prompted this design detail?
This is a new feature that we’ve added in the last 6 months, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. There are several benefits to the removable basket. It makes our bags even more adaptable to someone who may not want to use it as a camera bag (although, I’ve found that even when I’m not carrying gear, I love the organization that the basket gives!) You can remove the basket and the interior of the bag has no velcro. It also makes it easier to load your gear or whatever you’d like to carry, and then insert it into the bag. The basket now allows you to have space on either side to store magazines, Ipad and other large objects.
Where are the bags made, and how did you set about going into product production when you began your career in an entirely different area?
Our bags are designed here in the United States, manufactured in China, and our fulfillment warehouse is located here in the states as well. When I began the process of having these bags made, I was quite literally clueless. I was very fortunate to have come in contact with amazing people who where very familiar with this process to guide me along the way. Of course, when you begin something new like this, it’s always scary, and there are many learning curves along the way. I’ve made a lot of mistakes (very expensive ones!), but those mistakes have shaped who we are as a company today, and I’m thankful for the lessons learned through this whole process. We are always evolving to be a better company, from our customer service to the quality of our bags, and this is something you can learn only by experience.
Your bags are named for your family: how do you juggle being a mother, a photographer and an entrepreneur? Any tips?
Very carefully!! I used to be a workaholic, but I can now happily say I’m in remission My family time and personal time are extremely important to me, so my priority begins there, and I make everything else work around that. If you do the opposite and make your family fit into your work life, your personal life always suffers. I think the secret that I’ve learned is that I have to trust other people to help me get things done. I can’t do it all myself, so I don’t even try! I’ve have a fabulous team of employes that make my life manageable. From customer service and product fulfillment to web design and managing bag production, I trust my team, and let them do what they are good at. Learning to delegate to others who are good at what they do has been the key to my life NOT being chaotic!
Have you been surprised by the reaction to your designs since you launched in 2009? What has been the highlight of creating Kelly Moore bags so far?
It’s hard to say if I’ve been surprised or not. Of course, when you begin any new venture, your hope is that people will love your product and it will succeed, but I knew there was no assurance of this. I think I can say that I’ve been overjoyed at the reception we have gotten in both the photography world and beyond. I’m thankful everyday for the success we are seeing around the globe, and I try to never take it for granted. As with anything, we are not promised tomorrow, so I enjoy every day, and hope and pray that we can continue to bring new and exciting products that our customers will love and that will keep them coming back!
What next for Kelly Moore?
Who knows!! At this time, we are in the process of opening our Kelly Moore Bag offices and retail space here in my home town. We have run this business from our home for the past 3 years, so it’s very exciting to be moving into a beautiful new space. Of course, we have several new bags in the making, but that’s top secret, so I can’t tell you about that!
UK based customers can buy a Kelly More Camera Handbag here. Can’t wait to try mine out, thankyou Kelly!
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