I’m beyond excited to share my favorite bag designer, Moop. Wendy and her team create the most perfect handbags that I currently own 3, yes I said 3. My favorite, so far, is the carrier in waxed canvas. I love the size and the material is one I’ve never seen before. I’ve received so many compliments on this bag that I’m waiting
patiently anxiously for a matching wallet.
And for all you pregnant women, these bags would make a great diaper bag! The very useful tote will carry a lot of items and the clutch is perfect for those quick runs or a small addition to your bigger bag.
I hope you enjoy meeting Wendy and the Moop team and go ahead and drool over these amazing product photos!
How have you grown your business from an idea to where it is now?
Tons of hard work! Moop began as an extension of my studio practice as an artist. I have always been very interested in process which is why I started writing a blog about the ups and downs of building a company and lifestyle like this. I really enjoy sharing our studio story and bits about our family with our customers and I think they appreciate knowing more about who is making their bags. This is a big shift in commerce that I find immensely interesting. Corporations have always wanted to “connect” with their customers by sharing their story. But, their stories have often been crafted fairytales very loosely based in reality (or not at all). We all know this and if you’re anything like me, you feel patronized by this. I love seeing this new burst of small businesses like my own with real stories of who they are, how they were founded and why they do what they do. Bloggers have played an important role in promoting this way of building a business and we have loved working with the blog community to help us build ours.
Why did you begin your business?
Before Moop was even an idea I was interested in the labor practices of the textile industry…or, I should say, appalled by their practices. I was a young single parent with no expendable income, working my way through college, with many convictions about who I wanted to support and who I didn’t. It is often difficult with a limited income to make socially or environmentally conscious choices in the products we purchase because those things come at a cost premium. So, I started to sew clothing for myself and my daughter. They were not fantastic or well made and didn’t even fit right! But, I had a lot of fun doing it and learned a lot about myself, what I wanted, what I needed and how I was going to accomplish it. A few years (and many a-line skirts and tote bags) later, I started Moop. My goal has always been to build something of my own, from the ground up and as a company, that we would always produce with strong labor ethics – for Moop that has meant we design and build everything in-house. No matter how much we grow, this will always be a core-value. It’s one of the ways I can ensure a solid and enriching work environment for those that work with me and helps me to make the highest quality, most thoughtfully designed product.
Where do you draw your inspiration from and how do you apply it to your business?
This is a tough one to answer. I’m always absorbing everything around me and don’t pull from any one place…I need diversity in my activities, interests and engagements. The most important thing I have found to keep me inspired is to take time for myself. Strictly for myself – away from Moop, away from my family, away from everything. Currently, I do this through exercise. I bike or run daily. That hour and a half is often the most important re-centering time of the entire day. It took me a long time to realize how important this time was to keeping the balance everywhere else – I’m very guarded about that time now. There are many other ways I try to fulfill my life outside of Moop, too. I make sure to keep one night a week for date night with my husband and one weekend day for dates with my daughter. I always have several books I’m reading and I love magazines! And, everywhere I go I’m paying attention to how people are using their bags. What are they carrying, how are they carrying and where are they carrying – It’s very important for me to understand the end use of what I make. Functionality will always be first and foremost in Moop bags…everything else will follow suit. All of this helps me to have a well rounded sense of fulfillment which in turn helps me to keep Moop interesting and thriving.
Describe a typical day.
5:30 – alarm. hit the snooze button…sometimes I do this more than once.
eat, dress, pack lunches, get my daughter out the door to school, etc. etc.
6:30 – arrive at the studio. make coffee.
6:30-8:30 – answer emails, do the bookkeeping, begin prepping the days production lists
8:30 – my assistant arrives and the sewing production begins as well as, prepping of bags to be shipped
10:30 – my shipping manager arrives. she inspects and packs all of our outgoing bags.
3:00 – our high school intern arrives. She assists in whatever capacity is needed on the days she is at the studio.
8:30-5:30 – sewing, shipping, cutting, sewing, repeat.
The rest of each day is spent running my daughter around to sports practices, homework, dinner, errands, the gym, more email, down time, etc. etc.
Moop is very labor and time intensive. While we are all at the studio working, all of the focus is on production. Because of this, I reserve one day a week with no one at the studio so I can have time to work on new designs and refine existing designs. This is my creative space and is very important. I also try to make my Moop work day end when I leave the studio (I’m not always very successful at this). The rest of each day and weekends are family time and very important to me.
Name 3 interesting facts many people don’t know about you.
:: I come from a very large family – I have 7 brothers and sisters and 29 nieces and nephews. I love having just one child
:: I do not like to bake. I really love to cook.
:: I have always wanted to be an Olympian. But, at this point in my career, I’m more likely to make the bags for the Olympic team than be on the team.
Thanks Wendy for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with us. You and your business are a true inspiration!