Bags of potential
Functional doesn’t have to mean boring as Charlotte Pearson learns.
There seems to be something about Brighton which tempts creatives away from the bright lights of London.
“I came to Brighton for a weekend and then never left,” smiles textile and home product designer Victoria Green, “well it feels like that anyway.
“I love being near the coast and having the South Downs nearby.
“Whenever I go to London for meetings I get to Victoria railway station and I can feel the stress levels rising but I get off the train in Brighton and it is just so relaxing.”
Having previously worked for M&S, Debenhams, John Lewis and The White Company, in January 2014 the designer decided to take the leap and branch out, launching her own brand.
“I had been thinking about it for a while,” explains Victoria. “Everything just seemed to fall into place at the right time, so when the opportunity was there I took it.”
But it seems she got a lot more than she bargained for.
“I launched the collection and then in the August I had my daughter,” she recalls. “So I found out I was pregnant about the same time as I was designing the collection, getting samples back and figuring out what I was going to do.”
Victoria’s first collection of eight beauty bags launched exclusively in Debenhams in early 2014, and since then she has created another four seasonal collections.
“My products appeal to everyone I think; myself, my friends, my mum and my niece,” explains Victoria. “I like classic designs, I’m not vintage and I’m not modern.”
Not being tied down to a particular type of style, sees her inspiration come from a range of different places and sources.
“My last collection I found some 1960s luggage with a floral print which I just loved,” she reveals. “And then there is the 1950s classic polka dot design that everyone instantly recognises.
“At the moment I am obsessed with pink, I don’t know why but that will feature in my autumn/winter 2016 collection which I am starting to research and design.”
Thinking about her customer and what she wants is something that Victoria keeps at the forefront of her mind.
“I am quite instinctive when it comes to designing,” she explains. “I look at trends but I always have my customer in mind.
“Is she going on a cruise, or on a beach holiday? What does she need in there? If the bathroom is small can she can hang it off the door or detach pieces as she needs to?
“I look at what they order and what they say about colour and patterns, and for me it is about quality and value for money.”
Although relishing having her own brand under her own name, Victoria admits it was initially tricky finding her style.
“I always used to work to briefs,” she explains, “so when I launched the brand it was almost like I had to retrain myself to do my own designs.”
Originally from Cumbria, Victoria admits she was always surrounded by art and creativity growing up as her dad was an artist.
“I remember for my fifth birthday he painted an array of elephants on the wall,” she recalls. “Art is just something I have always been involved with.”
Victoria studied at the Winchester School of Art before getting a job with Laura Ashley where she designed wallpapers, cushions and various other items, including perfume.
“When I was working at Laura Ashley designing wallpaper it was nice to know people would have it up in their home,” she says.
“And that there are still people now that chose to have my design on their walls and have them in their lives.”
Being in people’s lives is just one of the appealing factors which made Victoria pick her choice of products.
“I am a very functional and practical person,” she says.
“I love the thought of someone using my bags every day and it having a purpose, being in people’s lives and being beautiful.
“I love that people can touch and use them all the time, and it can be admired.”
Something which is sure to happen and may see you taking out that traveller bag in the day. After all, it does seem a shame to limit them to the bathroom.
Victoria Green’s bags are stocked in Debenhams, and can be found on feelunique.com, Very.com, Isme.
com and Littlewoods.
You can also find out more on her website www.victoriagreen.co.uk
January 13, 2016 Fashion and Beauty