When I first realized I wanted to start a career as a bag designer, it was supposed to be just that, a bag designer. Not a leather crafter! But I HAD NO MONEY, to start manufacturing. So I did what every other business was doing in 2013, and that was KickStarter. I formulated a plan, figured out how much I was going gift each amazing person who invested into my dream and vision for Tohni Bekka (I changed the spelling when I rebranded from just a handbag business to a travel brand). I was nervous and excited. I put myself out there and in the hands of others. I was letting them into my world, exposing my weakness and relying on others to determine the fate of my business.
See when I think of handbags, I think of a little girl dreaming of being like her mom. I've been carrying handbags since I could remember. It made me feel like a little woman. I would play in my mom and great aunts perfumes, jewelry, and makeup. Walking around the house collecting various things to fill my little purse.
The video I produced featured my daughter doing just that. Playing dress up in my things and leaving out with her little purse. You can check out the video here.
As you can see if you actually clicked on the link that I didn't have enough backers. My immediate family who is very supportive invested in me and others at the $5 and $25 pledges. With Kickstarter at the end of the campaign, if you don't hit your mark you don't get a cent. Of course this was disappointing. While it made me feel good to see who invested in me but missing the mark definitely didn't feel good. But as you can see, this didn't stop me. I may not have got the money to start manufacturing my bags but it didn't kill my dream. At that point, I just knew I had to start at the bottom and work my way there.
After years of studying leather work and crafting my skills as I made bags I found myself really enjoying working with my hands and making bags. It became therapeutic for me. And now 10 years later I am still here, growing and building my business.
I have learned so much about myself and have enjoyed what the journey has instilled in me. Even though the Kickstarter was not successful, I didn't give up, I didn't let that stop me. No matter who did or didn't believe in me, I had to believe in myself. That's what I did back then, and what I continue to do. I didn't let that failure stop me or discourage me. I found another way, I pivoted and took another route. One thing I have learned is there is a lesson in it all! 😉