Enjoy our Purse Blog interview with Ben Harnett of Hayden-Harnett. The images are bags and accessories from the current Hayden-Harnett 2009 Spring line.
PB: The name, where did it come from?
Ben: It is totally made up. The Harnett is my last name. Toni’s last name is Hacker, so if you put those two names together, it kind of comes off as a law firm vibe. Hayden is a name Toni has always liked. We liked the two H’s, she sketched the logo and just came out of the blue and said Hayden Harnett sounds good – it just stuck. And apparently, the name Hacker can cause some trouble when you are trying to sign up for things online. Once we came up with the name, we had the logo and then the website.
PB: Where did you two meet?
Ben: We worked together at a company for a very short period of time. I was their IT Director, and she was the Director of Accessories. She left, but I stayed on for a while and we stayed in touch – went on a date, and then here we are. It was a year before we started the company.
PB: So, were you always into handbags or was it something that just kind of grew?
Ben: It was one of those things where we talked about “you are really good at what you do, but you don’t want to do it at the company you are at, so why don’t we try and do this on our own and see what happens.” You know, that way then your mistakes are your own and nobody else’s.
PB: You were dating then and married now, how would you say it is to work together?
Ben: We work together, live together, do a lot together. But, very quickly as the company grew, we split off and spent time away from each other during the day. We handle different aspects of the company. Toni is in charge of the creative part and everything involved with that. I work more with the warehouse and sales – more the business aspect. When we first started we were together morning, noon and night. She had a small office, but then there were boxes in the kitchen and all over the place.
PB: How quickly did the transition occur? You know, from boxes around the house to where you are now?
Ben: I think about after a year we rented a space. We borrowed some showroom space and were there for a while. We working out of the apartment and then the small showroom. But, then we had to get a small warehouse to store everything. When you add up all the rents together – after a while, we had the warehouse, design shop, design office and then the showroom.