How Did It All Start
March 29 2023 – Brynn Capella
Well first, you have to imagine it was 1998 and the "Rachel haircut" was all the rage! I was in my 20's, working in the radio and record industry, so my fashion sense was edgy and cool, but it was the 90's. Although, I'm not even sure if I even owned an actual quality leather bag at that point. You can see my bumble bee backpack above (so embarrassing now!)
But I vividly remember going to Urban Outfitters one day when I lived in LA and buying this pink fuzzy faux fur bag. It was so basic, no lining, no pockets, no zippers, nothing but a few pieces of faux fur sewn together. My sister couldn't believe I had spent $50 on that purse! So she kinda dared me to make one...okay she probably just said you could probably make that. But I took it as a dare!
So to the fabric store we went...I bought a yard or two of all these different faux furs and sat on the floor and just started cutting. I had no real experience but just remember being able to sew for some reason. Maybe it came natural, I'm not sure? It had so much fun giving bags as handcrafted gifts to friends and family. But when everyone came back to tell me about all the compliments they received, I couldn't believe it...the cashier at Target, the waitress at CPK, so I was hooked!
But making handbags remained something I did for fun during my decade career in the radio and record industry, because music was my 1st love and I was having too much fun meeting Rock Stars (yes that's Lenny Kravitz ;). Fast forward about 3 years later, it was just after 9/11 and I was in-between gigs, I didn't know how I was going to pay rent. Then a friend suggested I have a handbag party to make some money. I thought no one is going to buy these...but they DID! So I started planning handbag parties whenever and wherever I could, up and down the coast of California.
Now at that point, I was completely self-taught, had no idea what I was doing, but I was making it work. The bags weren't fancy or high end, but my passion for design was evident and stores were actually starting to sell them. When I moved to Chicago, I took a day job promoting Monster Trucks...yes I am talking Sunday, Sunday, Sunday (if you know what I mean!) and sewing bags every night. So in 2006, when that position was eliminated, I knew it was time to start being serious about designing if I really wanted to make it happen.
So I started working closely with local teams, and over the last 15 years of my business, I've been able to elevate my designs that only get better and better with time. I don't cut corners on my designs (don't get me started on most tote bag corners!), much to most of my sewers dismay. I love offering contrasting elements to really allow the details to stand out and have a one of a kind feel. Plus having them all be super functional was important as well.
What I don't think customers realize until they reach out to me for one reason or another, is just how SMALL I truly am. When they call the office and I am the one that answers the phone, they almost don't believe me. When I am the one to respond to their email inquiry, they don't believe it! At first, I thought that was a bad thing, but what I have come to realize is that it's not.
Some people believe quality goods have to come from big corporations and that very small businesses are more crafty. I remember someone telling me at an art fair once, that my bags looked store bought. I was kinda like what do you mean? She really thought only big companies could create high quality pieces. It was very rude, but a compliment at the same time!? LOL
As a small batch production brand, we do try to streamline our process but still offer a variety of colors and styles. We have spent the last year transitioning to upgraded zippers and hardware, so our website currently is a mix of past production runs and current ones. We are in the studio handcrafting our updated Pamela bags right now...and more Lauren, Mini-Lauren, Nikki, Jenne and Cher in some "springtime colors!" Although, we don't like to label any of our colors by season because we believe all of our leathers are year-round colors! Eventually all will be updated! Once this happens, we will be able to re-focus on relaunching updated styles AND even some new ones.
But of course, music will always remain an inspiration to my designs, as you can see, just look at my Nikki bag and Lizzy guitar straps. Currently, I am going through growing pains while I search for the right team members to join me on this journey. So your support is even more important than ever.
When I think back to that day sitting on the floor cutting faux fur fabric, I never would have imagined what it was to become! My journey to becoming a handbag designer (sometimes it still feels weird to say that!) is probably not the typical one for sure, but it has been really FUN!
Thank you for being a part of my story and my inspiration!
I still remember my first Brynn handbag party in LA and to this day, still use the handbag I bought and my mom still uses the evening bag I bought her!
I cannot express how inspirational it’s been to see Brynn’s journey! Her designs are simply stunning, of high quality and wonderfully functional.
I am proud to be her friend AND a satisfied customer!
Great story! I remember when you brought your bags to Florodora shortly after you opened your business and I bought one. I still use my first Lauren!