*Giveaway is Now Closed.
Hey loves! It's time for another giveaway and I have been super excited to debut this one because not only is this designer extremely talented, but she is super gorg and incredibly sweet! Blair Ritchey's handbags have definitely made their mark in the blogging world, being featured on some of my fave blogs: a fashion love affair, Devon Rachel, Yola Thorp, & The Doctor's Closet (just to name a handful)!! Her handbags range from chic clutches with tassels (The Lulu), functional clutches that fold (LuLu Foldover) , classic envelope clutches, sunglass cases, and her latest creation: The Kanter. Check out my fun little interview I was able to do with sweet Blair, and then enter for your chance to win The Kanter in either black, mint, or fushia!
Q: I was really inspired by you when I read in your "About" section on your website that you originally went to school for Psychology because you felt it was a more traditional route. However, you couldn't deny your love for fashion, and so later you interned with various designers in NY. It's inspiring because you followed your passion, and started a brand of your own! Were you afraid when you took that leap of faith and started your own handbag line?
A: I was definitely nervous at different points, but I was more scared to go through life without ever taking the chance to live out my dream. Almost everyone has these huge plans for themselves for ‘when they get older’ but few really ever take the first step to put them into motion. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized that I was finally older and I was nowhere near where I thought I would be. It was when I stopped being a dreamer and finally decided to do something that I didn’t have a sinking feeling in my stomach anymore. It is empowering to know you’re heading in a direction you were always intended to.
Q: How old is the "Blair Ritchey" brand to date?
A: I began selling a few bags on Etsy in March 2011 to test things out. I decided to get serious and launched my website in November 2011. So approximately a year.
Q: Where do you grab inspiration from when designing your handbags?
A: I’m going to be cliché – everywhere! When you find something that you truly are passionate about it is easy to be inspired. For the Fall12 line I was really inspired by menswear. When I am designing I am mindful to stay true to my brand. Even though I really like a trend, I may choose to not incorporate it in the line.
Q: I love how you wanted to design bags that were not only visually appealing to the eye, but also functional to the every-day woman. What characteristics make your bags more functional?
A: I try to add a little function here and there. I started by having various size Lulu clutches with detachable tassels that could transition from travel pouches to clutches. I added the side strap to the Lulu foldover for times when it’s too full to fold over. To my customer, options equal function. I keep in mind when designing that women’s needs along with their surroundings change through out the day.
Q: Would you say that the fringed tassel is your trademark on your bags?
A: I definitely believe it is what I am most known for currently. I love how it gives the bags a little something extra.
Q: How would you describe your own personal style?
A: I have more of a classic laidback style. I tend to gravitate to more flowy loose fitting pieces. Even though I love pops of color the majority of my closet is black and grey, which makes it such a pain when I’m looking for something in particular!
Q: Your fan base seems to be growing quite rapidly and a lot of fashion bloggers have been seen online sporting your handbags. How important would you say is the influence of fashion bloggers with brands?
A: Huge - the bloggers that I have had the pleasure of working with have had a tremendous impact on my business. When you’re first starting, you don’t have the budget to hire outside agencies and put ad campaigns together. Bloggers have become brands’ direct channels to the public. Right now it is so much easier for designers to build a brand than it was even a few years ago, and one of the reasons is because bloggers have become such a focal point in the fashion industry.
Q: Your latest design is the Kanter and features a long strap so the bag can be worn across the body or on the shoulder -- so fun! Do you have any other exciting new designs coming to the site?
A: Yes, I am really excited to launch the Fall12 line. The Granger Duffel clutch and Bronwyn shopper along with a few others will be new additions.
Q: Where do you hope to see your brand in the next five years?
A: I would love to see the Blair Ritchey brand vibrantly expanding, a talented team growing, and new projects successfully being taken on.
Q: If you had to describe your bags in three words or less, which would you choose?
A: Simplistic, Functional, Luxury.
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Giveaway is open worldwide and ends Monday, July 16, 2012 at 7:00 PM EST! Don't forget to leave your e-mail in your comment(s), so we can contact you if you win! The winner will be chosen at random via the use of random.org. Good luck everyone! xo!!