PB: Do you continue to reinvent yourself or do you really try to stick true to what has worked for you in the past and sort of twek it along the way?
Jalda: I have always tried to stay true to myself. I don’t want to make stuff that I don’t love. I like simple, that happens to be good because I manufacture here and labor is very expensive. It’s pretty much all Italian materials and there made here. I go back and forth between should I be out looking all the time at other things, or not at all. Because if you do it not at all you are original, but the problem sometimes there is that you do something but it turns up that someone else has done something very similar and you had no idea, but then at least you know you never copied anybody. I try and stay true to what I love, I listen and look and what’s going on, like what colors are in and I try to incorporate that because that is really easy. Even when things seem tacky there is pretty much always a way to translate it into a way that I am proud of. This way you do go along with the trends. Fashion changes all the time but somehow if I didn’t like yellow ten years ago, suddenly I will love yellow. Maybe because it’s a different tint or because suddenly your in the mood again, but that is what I love about fashion because there is always something new. Like how is yellow new? But somehow it is which is cool.
PB: Where does your inspiration come from? Do you find you try to re-invent yourself?
Jalda: Yea I reinvent myself, this is the marketing teaching, if you want to be a brand try and be consistent. That is not so hard because I’ am who I’ am, my business is going to change a bit but its funny, I have noticed that whatever is really true to me is what sells. If I go outside my box, however pretty it might be, if it is not what people expect from me it doesn’t work as well. I don’t think its conscience I just think this is Jalda. I have allot of complements at trade shows like Jalda your are always very clear about who you are, and that’s partly because who I am is who I am. But the training of if your going to be a brand be a brand, stand for something that is clear like its simplicity, its classy, its interesting, its usable, its forever. I want every bag to be forever. So even my line of metallics, there kinda out there, for the big bags its allot, but like a small clutch its metallic which is kinda in right now but will always work, its a supper neutral color. Blue is very in this year. Its not difficult, that’s the thing I want it to be easy to wear, I want it to be a statement, I want you to get a compliment on it when your wearing it, but I want it to be really easy to wear. It is not that out there its absolutely not trendy, its fashion, but its not trendy, its not trashy like gone in six months.
That’s the other thing, sometimes you see people come with this great trend, which of coarse good for them, but it doesn’t last, it’s a fad and simply doesn’t last. Its great to get you on the map or even every once in awhile have a bag like that, but if you have nothing behind it, it doesn’t make a brand. You get copied and nobody ever even knows who the real brand was. So yea I always like new stuff cause I find it so easy to get offered stuff all the time. There are too many things in my head but too little time. I really wish I could design more because I feel like I have only skimmed the surface with what I can do because I spend about 2% of my time on design which is too little, and its got me this far which is great, but its like what I could do. I have always wanted to narrow down what I do because I like simplicity. What I think what happens to my stuff, maybe with anyone’s stuff, its to much, people get confused. I wanted to make myself narrow it down but that actually takes work, so instead of making whatever is in my head and eliminating whatever I don’t like I want to up my own standard. If I don’t absolutely love it, I’m not going to make it. I want to raise the bar by having less stuff which is actually a good thing, my problem is I have too much stuff usually, its not the problem that I do not have enough.
PB: So now that you have established yourself as a handbag designer where do you go next?
Jalda: That is where the business look comes in, I have always tried to look forward. I have seen people around me for example hire an assistant when its way to late, and they don’t have the time to hire or train an assistant, or they try to do too much themselves and they get burnt out because they hate their job because it is overwhelming and then you start to get unhappy and then you want to quit, or you cant handle it. I try and always look forward as to what you need, is this going to be a serious business? What do you need?
PB: Have you had a business plan since the beginning?
Jalda: I kinda wrote a business plan because that was such my background. Although at the same time I was so happy that I didn’t have to really write a business plan because I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody, but I did it for myself just to make sure it was an intelligent decision. There are going to be some decision points, at what point do you stop? Allot of that I have been flexible on because I think what I have learned and what any entrepreneur has learned is that it takes longer and more money than you have ever thought. So I do think you can put deadlines on yourself but you have to be flexible with them but you have to continue to stay intelligent, this is not a hobby, this is a real job. This is paying peoples salaries, I am supporting peoples lives, so this is a serious thing. You should take this serious, you should get an office and not work at home at some point. When I got an office first I had an assistant who was great and supper professional and she was young, but I decided that this was enough and that she needed an office and not to come to my house and feel awkward when my husband comes home. I wanted it to be a serious company, its a company and she is a serious employee and its my job to train her and develop her and make her happy and interested and grow, and really have this be beneficial to her. I have always looked at things that way. One of the things I look at is what is my job? What is the last thing to delegate? And I need to make sure I do it, because it is frustrating because I know I could do so much better still, but then again that is part of the challenge. Nothing is perfect and it is hard, your kinda running after this snowball that is going, but that is the good and part of it. With time you get so much more efficient, I know what I’m doing now.