When one of my sisters is opening a new business I will always jump at the chance to support and promote as much as I can, so when I found out that Team Merch Steph was opening a new pop-up store in the Diff, I immediately went into work mode.
I visited her shop on Monday and it was sooo cute!! Gurl did an amazing job of setting in all up!!! White and baby pink were the main colour theme (a solid choice may I add) and I can only decribe it as a minimalists wet dream.
SHEQE is a new custom handbag brand, up-cycling unwanted bags into one-of-a-kind statement pieces and all at exceptional prices (this is no joke. No offence to Steph but she was under-selling because DAYUM some of those pieces were fiiiine)!! All proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.
I gave Steph some questions to answer about the shop and her influences.
How did SHEQE come about?
As part of my final major project in university, I decided to create my own brand, and open a pop up shop. As per any start up brand, I wanted to do something new, something there is a gap for in the market and something that I would be passionate about. SHEQE was created with the aim of addressing the amount of unwanted handbags that get thrown away, for being ‘out of fashion’. I wanted to create a brand that would allow consumers to explore the concept of up-cycling, turning away from fast fashion. Two of my favourite things are art and handbags, I created SHEQE to combine these two elements and allow for bespoke, one of a kind handbags to be readily available to everyone, not at the cost of designer handbags which currently are the only brands to offer this type of service. Handbags are made to last a lifetime, not brought every season in a new shape and colour, this is what SHEQE believe and what we aim to address throughout our journey.
How do you find your materials and designs?
All of the handbags we sell at SHEQE were purchased in charity shops or donated to the brand. By getting our bags this way we are able to source handbags which we believe are on trend, can be up-cycled and most importantly that our customers will love. When it comes to up cycling our handbags, we hand paint each of them, collaborating with different artists and designers to create unique and one of a kind outcomes. I wouldn’t say we find our designs as such, we trust our artists to put their own uniqueness and artistic style into the handbags and create their own designs.
Where do you see SHEQE going from here?
Being apart of my university degree, SHEQE wasn’t something I planned on continuing however throughout the process, my passion for the brand and concept has grown and I feel there is definitely a space for SHEQE in the market. When I have completed university I will develop SHEQE further, looking at it as a business and seeing how I can really kick start the future of SHEQE.
Who are your design influencers?
I wouldn’t say that in terms of design there are specific people we are influenced by. We want to be a completely new brand, offering something consumers won’t have seen before. We get inspiration and ideas from a variety of places, artists, brands and products, and combine them all together. We want to create something on trend, so it is important for us to look and what is on trend now and what will be on trend in a years time.
What have you learnt from this whole experience?
This whole experience has been a massive learning curve for me. I’ve learnt to have trust and be confident in myself and my ideas, as SHEQE has had an overwhelming about of support which I could only have dreamed of. I think the biggest thing I have learnt is simply how to set up your own business, and how to turn concept into reality, it is a hard and lengthy process but it is worth it for the final result.
Any advice for those who want to open their own store / bring their concept to life?
Do something you love, and you’ll continue to be passionate about. It is important to fully explore your idea, looking at how it could succeed and also how it could fail, analysing your competitors and clearly identifying where your brand or idea will fit into the market. Only by doing this will you develop your idea, and successfully bring your ideas to life.