Christopher Augmon, Creator of Globally Inspired Handbags and Accessories, on His Formula for Success
Why you should know him: He is creator and designer of a collection of handbags and accessories with global influence and appeal.
My handbags and accessories are globally inspired from several countries from around the world and time periods of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s in America. All my handbags and accessories are made with a classic, chic influence with an edge of timeless fashion so you could wear something from my first collection in 2009 and it would still look current and will never go out of style. All my handbags and accessories are made in New York so my quality, materials and craftsmanship are constructed by some of the best most popular contractors in the world.
What were key milestones in establishing your brand?
Getting national press and recognition on my line; having “A” List celebs like Zoe Saldana and others wearing my handbags and accessories; stores selling my product; having a good website or one that is a work in progress, having fantastic contractors, and working with China, India, Italy and Mexico on concepts and materials.
When did you decide you wanted to be in business for yourself?
I have always wanted to own my own company since I was in college. Owning my own company, for me, does not mean I am free from answering to anyone. It is actually the opposite, because I depend on a lot of companies and people to make my company work. Owning your own company does mean no matter if you fail or succeed, you accept the responsibility and outcome. I take full responsibility for my company.
What led to your interest in handbags and accessories?
I started designing in Chicago without any pattern design or fashion experience. As I started designing apparel and notice that I also had a passion for leather and handbags. I was carrying unisex “ cross body should bags” 15 years ago before they became acceptable or popular for men to carry bags. Currently, they call them messenger bags for men. Women handbag and accessories always fascinated me and I believed that no matter what shape or size people are they can enjoy a fashionable handbag or accessory to enhance their own style and fashion. The accessory or handbag is that additional expression or extension of who we are and how we feel about ourselves.
Explain in broad strokes the process of going from concept to market.
· Research and development
· Cost, expense, revenue and/or margin of profit
What was your greatest challenge getting started and did you overcome it?
There are not many designers, mentors or resources that provide you’re the information and access to the “true” world of fashion and fashion business in the Midwest. The large store buyers, tastemakers, the media, celebs, contractors, sourcing and other resources are mainly in the East and West Coast. Mostly East Coast. People from all over the United States love fashion and I have a lot of customers and boutiques that purchase my designs from the Midwest. The consumer is in the Midwest but the resources to grow as a big fashion brand name are on the East and West Coast. To overcome this objection I do a lot of traveling to the East and West Coast. I also like traveling because it give me inspiration.
What makes your collection unique?
Most of my customer have LV, Gucci, Hermes, Channel and other well-known name brand bags and accessories. My line has the quality of all those brands with and edge or trend incorporating unique mediums and design. If you want a fashion piece that is unique, combining color, materials, forum, hardware, great quality and that will always be in style with functionality then I am your designer. Lastly, most of my luxury accessories are affordable. I also have a great belt line for men and women. I designed a custom belt for Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.
How do you measure the success of your business?
· Customers’ feedback
· I like to make customers and stores happy for repeat business
· Distribution channels increase
· Brand impression continues to increase
· I stay inspired
Where can your products be found?