Meet new British luxury leather handbag entrepreneur

 

By Rachel Myles

Mary Jardine is a confident and ambitious woman with a drive for life that anyone would admire. Being both a loving mother and a creative business-woman, she possesses both logic and emotion to be deemed as increasingly successful in almost every-way.

Mary’s designer handbag company, Jardine of London, started in 2014 after a career break she took to raise her 2 boys, now 24 and 20, full-time. Then one day, the itch hit her. The itch to do something new and exciting- so she just had to scratch.

Before starting her business Mary was involved in the modelling industry, she had her own company prior to Jardine of London, but on a much smaller scale. She fell into it almost by accident after her friend asked her to model, and she realised there were ways to find new faces for an agency. It was back in 2000 that she started her modelling agency, East One Models; a regional company for the fresh faces of modelling to try and get their foot in the door of big business. Mary would run competitions and the winner would get signed to Model One, a big London modelling company.

Mary Jardine - Jardine of London

Mary Jardine – Jardine of London

I spoke to the lovely lady myself to see how she did it all and came to be a woman in her early fifties that seems to have it all;

Q. So Mary, tell me about the initial process of your business, from the idea to the product?

It’s been about 2 years now since I had the idea for Jardine of London and although it seems like not much time to have created a business, it’s felt like a long process. It started with one bag and one design I created and put on my website. From then it just grew very quickly and I decided to make the bag in 4 different colours. People started to request a slightly smaller bag design so I decided to keep my signature bag design and make it smaller.

Q. Where did your inspiration come from?

I have always loved bags from when I was little- what girl doesn’t! So that’s how the idea of designing bags happened, but the actual inspiration was from a music bag I had as a child. It was so beautiful and I loved it, clean and chic, hence the music bar design. Also the gold star that I have used in my brand is inspired by the Jardine Star Brooch left to Queen Elizabeth II in 1981.

Jardine of London Bags

Jardine of London

Q. Did you have much of a business plan when you decided to start your company?

Honestly, not really! As terrible as that is I sort of just plunged in the deep end. I had no idea how a business plan was supposed to look or what I was truly doing. I did try- but I found it impossible to create, it was a stab in the dark. After the business took off a bit and was growing, I decided it was time to make a real plan and once I had done it, although it took a while, it was so worthwhile I wish I had tackled it sooner.

Q. What challenges (except the business plan!) did you endure whilst starting up Jardine of London?

The absolute worst and most difficult part of setting up has been finding the right person to actually make my bags. It’s my design and my company and I want it to be just right! People in the fashion and design industry don’t like to reveal their trade secrets, which I never used to understand until I found an absolute wonderful person to create my bags with beautiful materials and I don’t want to tell a soul because you feel you have found a treasure.  I feel very much in safe hands now.

What I found difficult to get to grips with is using social media. Facebook and Twitter and those sites were not something I was equipped to deal with but I knew how important they were in society. So, I took a course to learn. (Yes, they do those!) It was so helpful, and because I do everything myself in the company at the moment it made everything a lot easier.

Q. What do you do to un-wind and relax when you’re stressed about your company, to keep yourself sane?

To be honest what I do is so simple. I love to walk my dogs! When I’m stressed and need a break it’s the perfect thing. It helps me relax and breathe when everything gets on top of me and being in nature is lovely. Exercise is so important for you and your health, it can be a huge stress reliever and everyone should do a bit everyday to keep them in good condition. I also make sure I eat well and do Pilates every morning. Taking a break can be great too! We go on a family holiday once a year which I always look forward too.

Q. And lastly, what advice would you give to those wanting or trying to start their own business?

The absolute must do when you’re starting your own business is to do your research! It is key and the most valuable thing you can do for yourself. You need to research your idea, products and audience so you know 100% that your business has a shot at working. Soak up information- go to trade shows, use online surveys people can fill out and just general reading up on your market or area will help a lot.

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For more information on Jardine of London visit: www.jardineoflondon.co.uk

 

 

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