A woman can never have enough handbags. I am the kind of woman that likes to have a variety of handbags and switch it up every now and then. I had the honor to talk to the creator of Sha’Lari Couture, Shannon Richardson. She designs clutches, totes, purses, wristlets, diaper bags and so much more. During the interview, she discusses her brand and the joy of following her dreams. She is such an inspiration to women who have the desire to pursue their dreams in fashion, or in any kind of business. Getting into the handbag business can be tough, but Shannon made a brand and business out of it. She has customers all over American and in other countries around the world. Her leather and fabric handbags start at just $29 dollars. You can visit her website as well as her social media sites where she displays her work. Take a moment to read this amazing interview and get inspired!
What inspired you to create the handbags?
S: Believe it or not, the story began over 20 years ago. It started with a collection of one-of-a-kind handbags followed by a “brief” stint of trying to sew a corduroy tote. The collection lasted, but the “sewing stint” did not. In September 2011, I had the opportunity to design, create, and sew a reversible tote while on vacation…and the rest is history.
How did you come up with the name?
S: Believe it or not, the business started out as Nonnahsstyle (my name spelled backward; and the word “style”). I was talking with someone one day about designing a logo. It was suggested that I reconsider the name of my business and come up with a name that would represent me and my product. The end result, Sha’Lari Couture (my name Sha’-Shannon; my mother’s name La- Lavonne; and my last name Ri- Richardson; and the word “Couture”).
What was the first step you took when you realize you wanted to make this a business?
S: Once I realized that I wanted to make this a business, I decided what I wanted to specialize in and registered my business name.
What inspired you to learn about fashion?
S: Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to “grow up and make clothes”. I enjoyed going to the fabric store and looking through the catalogs. This was the beginning of “a little girl, a sketchbook, and a dream”. As I got older and the years past, my dream never wavered. Fashion was a part of me, I could not let it go nor did I want to.
How long does it take for you to create a product?
S: From concept to design to finished product, each item is carefully handcrafted and can take anywhere from an hour up to a few days. It depends on the product and the complexity of the design.
Do you provide samples, and do you do showcases where people can come to meet you and try your products?
S: I do participate in various events where people can meet me and see the products that Sha’Lari Couture has to offer.
What makes your products different than other companies? Have you come across any other products that were similar to yours?
S: As a specialty retailer, Sha’Lari Couture prides itself in its eclectic mix of one-of-a-kind handcrafted handbags, diaper bags, and accessories. Secondly, Sha’Lari Couture uses only the finest fabrics, trims, and notions available. Thirdly, Sha’Lari Couture’s products are known for their quality, longevity, and close attention to detail.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
S: I am proud to say that I have shipped Sha’Lari Couture’s products worldwide (47 states and 7 countries). Another accomplishment that I am proud of is graduating college all while running my business, working a full-time job and a part-time job. It was tough, but the end result was well worth it.
How long have you been in this industry?
S: I have been in the fashion industry over 20+ years, starting out in sales and working my way up to management. As a business owner, I have been in the industry for six years.
What have you learned while creating and managing this business?
S: One thing I have learned while creating and managing my business is that it can be challenging, juggling day-to-day activities, working a full-time job, and processing.
If there were anything you can change about the handbag industry what would it be?
S: Just like fashion, the handbag industry is constantly evolving, there is nothing I would not change.
Do you have children, spouse, if so how do you manage business and time with your family?
S: I am not married and do not have children.
How can we locate and purchase your products?
S: At this time Sha’Lari Couture’s products can be found & purchased on Facebook, Etsy, and/or Sha’Lari Couture’s website.
What is your favorite product, and what are your customer favorite products?
S: I have had so many favorite products over the years that it’s hard to name just one. From diaper bags to beach bags to hobo’s there are just too many to name. In regards to my customers, the response is the same.
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Shannon’s desire for handbags made it possible for her to sell her own products. What I learned about Shannon is that it takes time and effort to accomplish a dream like this. A lot of hard work, staying up late, and sacrificing your time…even sleep, is all worth it when you see your dream flourish. This is a powerful sister that produce products worth shopping for. Her bags come in different materials, vibrant colors, and a design you won’t see anywhere else.
One another note: It’s important to support one another and help others get their products out there for more people to see. If you are familiar with Shannon’s work please be sure to comment on her website and talk about her products on social media. If you are not familiar with her work go to her website, check her out, and connect. Let her know I sent ya!
Community Convo: Have you ever wanted to start your own designer bags? What about clothes? It takes a lot to have an idea and bring it to life. What questions do you have for Shannon? Ask below!