WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION FOR TAMARA HARVEY COME FROM?
Well I was at university and I struggled to find the perfect bag to carry all my boring books but also looked stylish. I had a look at the high street designs and they all look the same; the same boring colours, same poor quality materials, same style and I just thought they were all hideous. It was like we’ve all become too afraid of a bit of colour! You can go and spend £80 on a handbag on the high street and it won’t be made from real leather, it will no doubt me made abroad and it’ll be a carbon copy of the bags in the store next door. I was just fed up, and thought well if I can’t find it I’ll make it and that’s where it all started. It’s a pretty big leap to suddenly start a fashion company without any degree or qualification in fashion or business but I’m a very creative person and business is my thing, I started my first business designing and making jewellery when I was thirteen so I think it all came pretty naturally.
WHY DO YOU PICK THE COLOURS THAT YOU DO?
I’ve always had this weird attraction to bright colours, you’ll very rarely catch me in black unless I’m having a bad day or feeling fat! Again it was like I was saying, I hate the colours on the high street they’re all black or brown or yuck yuck yuck! Life is too short to have a dull boring bag, like come on! All the leather used for the bags are bright, bold and beautiful. What’s better than topping off an outfit with a pop of colour? Nothing that’s the answer!
I do have black products but that’s because you really can’t go wrong with black it can be so punchy and strong without being over the top. Black is such a good colour for accessories if you’re a busy bee like me, there’s always some drama going on and I’m constantly dropping things or spilling things over myself. I still have shudders from the mayonnaise incident – eeeek!
WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT DESIGN OR FUNCTUALITY?
Both obviously! Again this is a thing I think lots of designer brands don’t often balance too well, you want a stunning bag that’s going to get noticed but it needs to work, it’s got to carry your essentials. Before starting TAMARA HARVEY I was walking down the road, coming back from uni when my bag handle snapped and I was left scooping up all my things. I had spent a fair bit on this bag and so I was fuming, plus the embarrassment of snatching your deodorant / make up off the pavement is awful. I want my bags to be beautiful but they have to work, if I can’t get my phone, make up, chargers, wallet and sunglasses in then it’s a no go.
IF YOU COULD HAVE DESIGNED ANY HANDBAG IN HISTORY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Well come on everyone’s going to say the Hermes Birkin aren’t they?!
WHAT’S THE HARDEST PART OF BEING A YOUNG ENTRPRENEUR?
I started my first business, like I said, when I was 13 and I’m about to turn 21 in March so I think the hardest part perhaps so far is balancing school / university work with business. Naturally the first thing I want to do when I wake up is work on some great ideas I’ve had overnight but especially now as I’m nearing the end of my third and final year boring work takes priority. Roll on the summer when I graduate! The second hardest part would probably be funding, I know it’s something many people struggle with but you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a fortune, as long as you’re spending what you do have on the right things. If you are an entrepreneur of any age you have to be able to take knock backs, sometimes again and again and again. It’s sad but there’s people who find it easier to criticise you than compliment you, but that’s most of the time out of their own bitterness and insecurity and has nothing to do with what you’re doing. Rejection needn’t be hard if you know how to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and move on.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BAG FROM YOUR COLLECTION?
I love them all! I love how every single part of my products are all made in England – literally everything. I can pin point on a map where each zip or clasp or bit of leather came from and it’s something you can’t do with many designer brands and certainly no high street brans. 100% Made in England that’s what my collection is about. If I had to choose I would say at the moment I’m really into our Marianne cross body bags because they’re new and just so damn good!
YOUR MOTTO TO LIVE BY?
Who dares wins.
IF YOU COULD CREATE ANY CAMPAIGN WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHO WOULD YOU HAVE TO MODEL?
I’d definitely have Miranda Kerr to model and it would be shot in the flower gardens / maze of a huge country house somewhere in England. I’d have Miranda running around in a gorgeous gown that would be flowing behind her…something like that and perhaps in the middle of the maze would be one of my bags! Oh gosh I love this idea, damn someone get Miranda on the phone!!
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS TIME?
Yes. Why strive for anything less?
AND FINALLY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, KITTENS OR PUPPIES?
I have a cat and a dog, so I can’t choose… a goldfish – no a baby tiger!