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Designing the Dahlia

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Designing the Dahlia handbag was driven by my own personal requirement to have a versatile and stylish handbag that would take me from day to night easily.  As Chief Operations Officer at iomart, a technology and cloud computing company, I was travelling all the time and taking lots of luggage on the plane was a problem. I couldn’t find a multi-functional handbag that would do the job and as I had recently taking up handbag making as a hobby I decided I would design a handbag that would solve the problem. This initial design, a two-in-one handbag design,later became the Dahlia Tote.

When I first come up with a design I really like the initial bit where I am trying to figure out if it will work, it’s problem solving – the Dahlia, was really was about not being able to take two handbags on the plane, and needing a bag that would go from day to night, that’s how the detachable Ivy front pocket on the Dahlia came about.

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Since I do not have a formal design background, I make my own patterns driven by the function that I think I need in a handbag. I sketch them, then make a pattern. I try things out in the studio making the bag first in paper form, then in a cheaper leather. I’ll use the bag for a month or so and continue to refine the design - I might create four or five times different versions of it until I’m happy. I’m a perfectionist and I want to create the perfect handbag. This one was the first Dahlia I created:

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Once the design was complete I started to use the handbag -  this is a great way of testing. Then I had to think about what to call the handbag. Our naming convention has always been to use flowers and so I started to think about the flower that best evoked what the handbag meant to me as a Designer.

I decided to call the handbag the Dahlia. The Dahlia flower is beautiful with many layers rather than lots of individual petals which I found interesting as you can layer on many different looks to the handbag. The Dahlia flower also conjures up a vision of elegance, and when given as a gift, the Dahlia flower expresses sentiments of dignity and is the symbol of a commitment and a bond that lasts forever – just like a Dahlia handbag.

I knew I had designed a great handbag when one of my existing customers was visiting the studio noticed all my samples and when I showed her how the handbag worked she was blown away and ordered one immediately.

The Dahlia has evolved considerably since those initial designs. Our ‘one and done’ hero bag is beautiful and functional, designed to take you through the day and night without any fuss. It's made from high-end leather, with minimal hardware, a luxury construction, and a soft pink suede multi-pocketed interior. The design is both impeccable and super-practical, a flawless finishing touch to any outfit. It is a beautiful handbag that will last forever.

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I hope you found it interesting learning about the design process behind the Dahlia.

Until next time

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